How high should I kick this?
Why was Sergio Ramos taking the 4th penalty kick in Real Madrid's UEFA Champions League Semifinal loss to Bayern Munich? Before Gonzalo Higuain? Before Marcelo? Before Esteban Granero? All three have more of an offensive flair than the defender.
But you can't blame the loss on Ramos. Xabi Alonso put one up on the board for Real Madrid in the third round of penalties and following a defiant save by Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos came up to add another to equalize in the fourth round.
But he bombed. He bombed high and it wasn't even close.
But you shouldn't blame Ramos. Here are a few reasons why.
Jose Mourinho and Real Madrid
Should the question be asked of Jose Mourinho as to why Real Madrid as a team failed to attack during the second period? It's as if Real Madrid were afraid to come up with something brilliant. Or it could be that they ran out of ideas.
Would Mesut Ozil have paid off during the penalty shootout? Jose Mourinho should have taken off a lackluster Karim Benzema much sooner for Gonzalo Higuain. Mourinho ended up watching the penalty shootout on his knees, perhaps praying for luck to save his hide.
Who To Blame For The Loss?
Bayern Munich's Composure
After going down 2-0 in the first fifteen minutes, Munich proceeded to control the game throughout. Head coach Jupp Heynckes, who was Madrid's coach when it won the 1998 European Cup, said it best here:
"Trailing 2-0, everyone knows the atmosphere here, everyone knows how difficult it is to come back from this score. But we improved with each minute and played organized in defense."
Bayern's Gustavo had a meaningful game, terrorizing the midfield and causing trouble. After being booked with a yellow card, he'll miss the final–but his effort was worth it for Bayern.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka Missed Penalties
Sergio Ramos should not get a pass for missing his, but from the outside looking in, you'd think Ronaldo and Kaka were the least likely to miss their penalties. Cristiano even made a penalty in regulation.
Even though Sergio Ramos' penalty is still floating in space somewhere, I can't blame him for the loss. This was a collective team loss and throughout the game, it was evident Bayern Munich had a little more bite and substance, standing tall in an opposing fortress.