Luka Modric Pounces As APOEL Goofily Illustrates How Not To Clear A Ball
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Some fine finishing from Luka Modric perfectly illustrated to APOEL how not to clear a ball when defending. The Croatian scored the first goal in the Real Madrid vs. APOEL Champions League match off a silly failed clearance on Tuesday in Cyprus. Los Blancos won the match 6-0.
When you’re in your own box, you do not mess around. Your first task is to keep the ball away from the other team and get the ball away from your goal. You clear it toward the sidelines and not in the middle of the pitch. If in doubt, kick it out.
Vinicius, an APOEL midfielder, apparently was never taught that axiom, as he attempted a cheeky back-heel clearance inside his own box. The result? 1-0.
Modric had a lot to do on the high, looping ball, striking it sweetly on the volley and taking APOEL goalie Nauzet by surprise. But Modric never would have had a look at goal had Vinicius not been lazy. Instead of turning his body to properly clear the ball, he merely poked out his leg to pop the ball up just outside the box, never a good place to put the ball as a defender.
The goal came in the 23rd minute and eventually broke the spirit of the home side. Real Madrid scored three goals in the final six minutes of the first half to take a 4-0 lead into the break. Karim Benzema scored two first-half goals and defender Nacho knocked in another off a corner kick
Benzema’s first strike finished a nice interplay between Toni Kroos and Cristiano Ronaldo, which left Ronaldo on the floor, where he spent most of the first half as the target of some physical play from APOEL. Benzema finished with confidence not expected from a man who has scored twice all season.
Benzema’s second goal came courtesy of an impressively unselfish Ronaldo, who drew the keeper out and poked the ball over to the French striker who needed only to tap the ball into the back of the net.
Because this is Champions League and not La Liga, Ronaldo eventually found the back of the net himself, twice in fact. Ronaldo now has seven goals in five Champions League matches compared to one goal in eight league matches.
Early in the second half, Ronaldo rose high to meet a cross from Marcelo for an impressive header to make it 5-0.
Five minutes later, a horrible back pass from APOEL and good pressing from Benzema set up Ronaldo’s second. The Portuguese star had an open net, though the angle at which he had to strike the ball was not easy.
Los Blancos went into the day trailing Tottenham by three points for the top spot in the group knowing a win would clinch qualification into the next round. They certainly did enough to ensure Real Madrid will be in the knockout rounds yet again.