Ancelotti highlights Kroos influence as Real Madrid book Champions League last-16 spot

By Sports Desk November 24, 2021

Carlo Ancelotti was full of praise for midfielder Toni Kroos after his influential display in Real Madrid's 3-0 Champions League win over Sheriff on Wednesday.

Kroos doubled Los Blancos' advantage before the interval after David Alaba had opened the scoring, while Karim Benzema added a third in the second half.

The routine win helped the LaLiga giants progress to the last 16 of the competition for the 19th season a row – the only team to do so since the round was introduced in the 2003-04 season.

Kroos has now been involved in four goals in his last three games in all competitions for Madrid (two goals, two assists) – as many as he had in his previous 13 games – and Ancelotti was delighted with his contribution.

"If Kroos is well the coach is calmer," the Italian told a media conference. "He handles the ball like nobody else. 

"That combination with Casemiro and Modric is spectacular. He is also scoring goals and he is doing very well."

The match was played on the same day Benzema was handed a one-year suspended prison sentence and fined €75,000 after being found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena.

The France striker was one of five people standing trial over the attempt to extort former international team-mate Valbuena in a case dating back to June 2015.

It did not seem to distract the 33-year-old, who was in typically clinical form, with Ancelotti insistent the forward is focused only on what happens on the pitch.

"It is calm, it has been a topic for a long time," he added. "He is focused on Madrid and I see that he is well."

Alaba's deflected free-kick ended a run of 50 Champions League games without a goal for the Austrian since he scored for Bayern Munich against Arsenal in November 2015.

He was replaced in the 64th minute by Nacho after suffering an injury, yet Ancelotti is hopeful he will be fit for Sunday's LaLiga clash with Sevilla.

"It's a little knee sprain," he said. "It doesn't seem worrisome because he doesn't have much pain. We hope he plays on Sunday."

Madrid need just a point against Inter in a fortnight to ensure they progress to the knockout stages as Group D winners.

Related items

  • Cameroon 1-0 Brazil: Indomitable Lions bow out despite last-gasp Aboubakar strike Cameroon 1-0 Brazil: Indomitable Lions bow out despite last-gasp Aboubakar strike

    Vincent Aboubakar fired Cameroon to a last-gasp 1-0 win over Brazil before being sent off on Friday, but it was not enough to save the Indomitable Lions from an early World Cup exit – or to prevent the Selecao from topping Group G.

    Having seen Brazil secure a place in the round of 16 by beating Switzerland last time out, Tite made nine changes to his side, which resulted in a disjointed Selecao showing at the Lusail Stadium.

    Devis Epassy kept Cameroon in the contest with several fine saves before Aboubakar nodded home a stoppage-time winner for Rigobert Song's men – and was promptly shown a second yellow card for removing his shirt.

    However, the result was ultimately immaterial as Switzerland clung on to beat Serbia 3-2 in the group's other game, ensuring Brazil topped the pool and sealing Cameroon's elimination. 

  • Klopp's agent distances Liverpool boss from Germany role as pressure mounts on Flick Klopp's agent distances Liverpool boss from Germany role as pressure mounts on Flick

    Jurgen Klopp's agent has ruled out the prospect of the Liverpool manager replacing Hansi Flick as Germany boss following their surprise World Cup exit.

    Kai Havertz's brace, as well as goals from Serge Gnabry and Niclas Fullkrug, ensured Germany secured a 4-2 win over Costa Rica on Thursday, but their efforts were in vain as Japan staged a remarkable comeback to beat Spain and join them in escaping Group E.

    Germany's group-stage elimination – their second in as many World Cup tournaments – has led to stern criticism of the side, with some questioning Flick's suitability for the role of head coach.

    Former Germany international Dietmar Hamann has called for Flick to depart after overseeing a "pathetic" campaign in Qatar, and Liverpool boss Klopp – as well as former Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel – has been touted as a potential replacement.

    However, Klopp's representative Marc Kosicke told Sky Sports in Germany his client would not be interested in the role, saying: "This is a media topic. 

    "Jurgen has a contract at Liverpool until 2026 and he intends to fulfil it."

    Flick signed a three-year contract to lead Germany last year, which is set to run through their Euro 2024 campaign on home soil.

    The former Bayern Munich boss will be cursing Germany's finishing after they were eliminated from the World Cup despite generating the highest expected goals (xG) tally at the tournament (10.4), three more than the total managed by the competition's second-most creative side (France with 7.4 xG).

  • South Korea 2-1 Portugal: Dramatic Hwang winner incredibly puts Taeguk Warriors through South Korea 2-1 Portugal: Dramatic Hwang winner incredibly puts Taeguk Warriors through

    Hwang Hee-chan scored a stoppage-time winner to beat Portugal 2-1 and put South Korea through to the last 16 of the World Cup at the expense of Uruguay in a dramatic conclusion to Group H.

    The Taeguk Warriors appeared to be heading out as they looked set to draw while Uruguay led Ghana elsewhere, but Hwang netted at the end to complete an incredible turnaround.

    Ricardo Horta had put Portugal in front early on, but they failed to heed the warning posed by Kim Jin-su's disallowed goal soon after, with Kim Young-gwon deservedly getting South Korea back on level terms.

    Portugal – who won the group anyway – coasted through the second half and South Korea took full advantage, with Hwang landing the decisive blow to spark bedlam and send Uruguay packing.

    South Korea's feeble start suggested they were there for the taking, with Horta applying an easy finish to take a fifth-minute lead after Diogo Dalot breezed past Kim Jin-su and cut the ball back.

    Kim Jin-su scored what he thought was the equaliser 12 minutes later, tapping in on the rebound after Diogo Costa saved Cho Gue-sung's header, but it was ruled out for offside.

    Portugal's lead was wiped out before the half-hour, though.

    Ronaldo shied away from a corner delivery, which struck him, and Kim Young-gwon was on hand to steer home.

    Portugal's captain then missed completely missed his kick from close range early in the second half, the subsequent offside flag doing little to spare his blushes.

    A second half generally lacking quality appeared to be petering out.

    But then captain Son Heung-min darted towards the Portugal goal, awaited support, and calmly fed Hwang through a defender's legs, Hwang slamming past Costa to secure progress in astonishing fashion.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.