This season’s Champions League and Europa League are finally reaching their climax. With so many changes, not least, matches played behind closed doors and at neutral venues, there’s an added excitement to knockout stages this campaign – with matches being played and decided over 90 minutes, rather than two legs. Now is not the time for mistakes, as these will see you punished, with only the best making it through to the final stages. Manchester City are the favourites for Europe’s elite cup competition, while Europa League odds favour Inter Milan this season. Let’s take a look back at some of the worst howlers in both competitions.
- Taxi for Varane
We start with a match from this season’s Champions League – and it was a night to forget for Real Madrid centre-back, Raphaël Varane. The Frenchman gifted Manchester City two goals as they ran out 2-1 winners on the night, and 4-2 on aggregate to secure their place in the quarter-finals. City went ahead at the Etihad, when Gabriel Jesus easily dispossessed Varane in the box, to tee-up Raheem Sterling to score his 100th goal for the Citizens. Jesus then turned scorer, capitalising on a poor back header from Varane to chip it past Thibaut Courtois in the visiting goal.
- Karius Case #1
There’s never a good time to cost your team a victory, but the timing doesn’t come much worse than in a Champions League Final. We go back to the 2018 Final in Kiev, when Liverpool played Real Madrid and Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius had the nightmare, he’ll never want to remember. Mistake one came early in the second half – Karius threw the ball out and it bounced off the foot of Real’s Karim Benzema, rolling into the back of the next. Liverpool hit back but Gareth Bale wrapped up the win, with Karius at fault once again – this time fumbling the Welshman’s 30-yard strike.
- Karius Strikes again(!)
Another comedy of errors for the German goalkeeper, as Karius – this time playing for Beşiktaş – was at fault, as Swedish club Malmö ran out 2-0 winners in their Europa League group stage clash. Fresh from his horror show in May, there were two more mistakes just five months later. The first error came when he completely misjudged a cross, and instead of parry it over the crossbar, the accident-prone keeper watched it loop over him and into the back of the net. While Malmö’s second goal was a result of more flapping. Needless to say, the Turkish outfit finished third in Group I and were eliminated from the competition – and the mistakes haven’t stopped there…
- Adrian continues where he left off
After gifting Chelsea an FA Cup quarter-final place, Adrian continued his shaky form in the Champions League, as he stood in once more for Alisson. Liverpool were 1-0 down from the first leg of their Round of 16 clash against Atlético Madrid, and while they clawed their way back into the two-legged affair, the game went to extra time. Despite Roberto Firmino giving the Premier League champions the lead at the start of extra time, it soon became the Adrian show. First, his back pass went straight to João Félix, who played in Marcos Llorente, before he netted his second goal of the night, as Atléti retook the lead. Again, Adrian was at fault, with the commentators even saying that Alisson would have saved it! Atlético ran out 4-2 winners on aggregate, and their European journey continues.