Real Madrid: Courtois to face the Bernabéu jury against Leganés
The Belgian keeper will make his first appearance in front of the Real Madrid fans since his disastrous showing in the Champions League.
Barring any major selection surprises from Zinedine Zidane on Wednesday evening, Real Madrid keeper Thibaut Courtois will have the chance to redeem himself in front of the infamously demanding Bernabéu crowd on his first appearance since the 2-2 draw against Club Brugge in the Champions League, when he turned in a performance he will be hoping to consign to memory as quickly as possible.
On October 1, when the Belgian side were the visitors, Courtois was already under the spotlight after some less than assured keeping and despite carrying a stomach problem declared himself fit and was named in the starting XI by his coach. However, things went from bad to worse for the 27-year-old, who conceded two goals from three shots on target, the first a calamitous attempt to rush off his line that Brugge forward Emmanuel Dennis took full advantage of.
Courtois was replaced at half time due to his stomach issue – a chorus of jeers raining down from the stands as accompaniment - with the club quick to deny reports that he had suffered an anxiety attack. To make matters worse, Real’s number two Alphone Areola made a spectacular save to prevent Brugge going 3-0 up, from where Zidane’s side may not have found a way back.
Courtois' Jekyll and Hyde Liga and European form
Courtois missed Madrid’s 4-2 win over Granada and headed off for the international break to seek solace and recover physically and mentally. A pair of clean sheets for Belgium took his tally for his country to seven in a row and 200 overall in his career but on his return to action for his club he faced one shot on target in Son Moix as Mallorca recorded an historic 1-0 victory. But in the Champions League, with Madrid needing a result in Istanbul to avoid the very real possibility of Europa League football in 2020, Courtois reminded his employers why they had signed him to replace Keylor Navas in the first place, making three excellent saves to rescue his side’s European challenge.
That was the keeper’s third clean sheet of the season, with all of them coming away from the exacting atmosphere of the Bernabéu. On the road, Courtois concedes at the rate of a goal of a game, while at home that figure rises to 1.66. That is a statistic he will hope to address when Leganés visit on Wednesday: the Cucumber Growers picked up their first win of the season last weekend and have scored only five times in 2019-20, with just two of those going in outside Butarque.
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