The Sports Legends

They Create history


Updated on May 22nd 2021, 11:19:14 am

Memorable performance of Petr Cech in the UCL 2012 finals

Remember Petr Cech's heroic penalty saves against Bayern Munich in 2012? The dexterous performance of the Czech international that night has come to represent one of the most exciting Champions League finals in recent history.

A goalkeeper is never really thanked for his performances. On the contrary, when they do shine, that becomes one of their career highlights. A variety of memorable goalkeeping achievements have occurred in recent history. Who can forget Joe Hart's virtuoso performance in the Nou Camp in 2015, or Guillermo Ochoa's gymnastics in the 2014 World Cup versus Brazil? What about Petr Cech's heroic penalty saves against Bayern Munich in 2012? The dexterous performance of the Czech international that night has come to represent one of the most exciting Champions League finals in recent history.

At that time, Cech at 30 had won everything possible and was considered one of the best keepers in the world. What he and the team both lacked were European trophies. They had reached five semi-finals in the preceding eight seasons, but their lone Champions League final performance had left them battered and disheartened. The pain of their penalty shootout loss to Manchester United four years prior was still fresh.

The Blues weren’t really in good form in that period and Andre Villas Boas was sacked. Roberto DI Matteo the interim manager beat Napoli and Barcelona to carry Chelsea to the CL finals. They were also coming from a FA Cup win, the last week but there were also things to be afraid of. Due to suspension, the Blues were without captain John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Meireles, and Ramires. Gary Cahill and David Luiz the hamstring duo were put in the centre of defence for Di Matteo's patched-together side, which also featured Champions League debutant Ryan Bertrand on the left side of midfield.

The final began and Bayern began to ascend. They kept possession with ease and made many early ventures into Chelsea's half. The Blues, on the other hand, shut down shop from the start, with Drogba cutting a lonely figure up front. Chelsea was designed to play the way the Italians do, or rather, the way Di Matteo does. The Londoners treated the match in the same way they would any other European away match.

The quality of Robben and Ribery terrorized Chelsea’s full-backs in the first half and in the 22nd minute, Robben with his characteristic slaloming form, he beat two defenders and ferociously powered a low shot at Cech's near post. With cat-like movements, the Czech goalkeeper stretched a leg, the ball bouncing fittingly off his shin and up onto the crossbar. Chelsea was on the verge of death. The majority of the second half was really filled with something similar and with not much action on either side. On the 83rd minute came the break for Bayern. Muller headed home a Toni Kroos cross from the left.

Chelsea came back into the game when the game was on 90+ mins and injury time was being played with Drogba heading the ball home from a corner. The score was level and the home fans fell silent. With the onset of extra time Droba fouled Robben in the penalty box. It was a certain penalty, a moment of incomprehensible carelessness.

Robben smashed the penalty only for it to be saved by Petr Cech. Bayern fans were stunned by it and by the time extra time ended, Bayern had 35 shots at goal. The shoot-out got off to a shaky start for Chelsea, with Juan Mata missing a penalty kick and the Germans scoring their first three attempts. Cech threw his side a safety net once more, diving to his left to claw away Ivica Oli's hard-hit kick. Following Ashley Cole's good penalty, the tie went to sudden death. It was now Cech's turn to shine.

Schweinsteiger’s half-hearted shot was diverted onto the post by Cech which went away to safety. Drogba was given the job, nay the honor, of scoring the game-winning goal. The Ivorian took a step forward and confidently placed the blow. Following all of which were emotional scenes that were very therapeutic. Chelsea fans were in fits of laughter, and their players were in complete shock. Cech, who has since admitted that he had no idea what to do after the final penalty, welcomed Drogba in the way that only brethren can. So many experiences were created as a result of this event. Chelsea's dramatic equaliser, Robben's missed goal, Drogba's joyous tears, and, of course, suspended captain John Terry in full uniform. For the football enthusiast, Cech's penalty feats are the most vivid recollection of the enthralling contest. He saved three of the six penalties he faced that night by guessing the right way. Goalkeepers, according to German legend Oliver Kahn, play in a "psychological role". Chelsea fans will be truly thankful to the articulate man who created a career-defining show of goalkeeping mastery when it mattered most.

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