Petr Cech Shows Why He’s Still One of the Best
Yesterday’s set of fixtures would have seen the first time two Gunners battled with each other but with Hector Bellerin watching the game from the dugout for 90 minutes, all Arsenal focus shifted to Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky, that wore the Gunner banners in the tournament.
Given the vast gulf in quality between both sides, it was always going to be a struggle for the Czechs against the European defending champions and it required everyone wearing the white jersey to bring their A-games. However, one Czech player stood out from the crowd but he was wearing a purple outfit – Arsenal’s own Golden Glove winner, Petr Cech.
The goalie did his bit to singlehandedly keep his team in the game but in the end, the pressure was just too much, even for a keeper of his caliber. The Cech goalkeeping class was in session when he made a point blank save from Alvaro Morata in the six-yard box. many Spanish fans expected the ball at the back of the net from such a close range but Cech had other plans. The goalie was almost caught flat-footed when a Morata drilled cross deflected off Roman Hubnik’s shin but the ball crept just wide off the mark.
Cech showed his aerial dominance to punch a couple of efforts to safety but he had his resilient defense to thank when Sergio Ramos was clean on goal but some last-ditch defending kept the Spaniards at bay. Even though it looked like one-way traffic from start to finish, the Czechs had some half chances that they failed to capitalize on. There was a moment when Hubnik was left unmarked and he reacted first to Ladislav Krejci’s shot but his effort was tame to say the least. Then there was another goal line clearance Cesc Fabregas, of all people, made in his six-yard box to steer the ball to safety. THat chance had 1-0 written all over it.
In the second half, Jordi Alba found his way into the Czech box but Cech’s presence put him off, causing him to make a rookie mistake when he was one on one with the goalie. The last time I remember Jordi Alba creeping at goal was when he made mince meat of Nigeria’s Vincent Enyeama in the 2013 Confederations Cup.
Cech seemed to be going home with a deserved clean sheet in the bag for his virtuoso performance but it was undone in the 87th minute when Gerard Pique headed a lovely Andres Iniesta pass to give the Spaniards a lead that broke Czech hearts.
It was quite painful to see the Arsenal keeper concede so late but that’s what football is all about. You don’t always get what you feel you deserve.
Nonetheless, it was a stack reminder that Cech is still one of the best goalkeepers in the business and he proved his weight in gold.
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