Every professional sportsperson would tell you that there’s no such thing as a dead rubber game.

The round of fixtures typically featuring the dead rubber games in the UEFA Champions league lived up to expectation.

Expectation is relative in this case. Just ask Tottenham fans, if you can find any.

Alisson denies Arkadiusz Milik in the dying moments (AFP)

Although you will find Liverpool fans, who witnessed their team live up to their expectation by securing qualification to the round of 16 under the lights at Anfield with the added fantasy of their goalkeeper making a point-blank save in injury time to preserve the result.

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Already-qualified Manchester United and Juventus in group H contrived to serve up performances of typical complacency that we see from already-qualified teams in such Dead rubber games. Both losing away to those playing for nothing but pride.

(Soccrates Images/Getty Images)

The sort of stat-padding pride (with all due respect to Valencia and Young Boys) that adds the odd win to their UCL records and provides their respective fans the right to boast of “The memorable victory over Man United at the Mestalla” or “The night Young Boys beat the Old Lady”.

Very lofty achievements from a dead rubber game eh?

Thomas Muller earns his red card ( EPA)

Ajax versus Bayern Munich though. Wow, what a game.
Three-all the final score, a red card and a penalty for each team all before a late equalizer. Talk about cancelling each other out.

This in a game between teams who had already qualified for the next round and were well within their rights to reward their stars with the night off and field their youth teams given how much they had dominated the group.

It’s pleasing on the eye that games which should mean little to one or both teams would still provide so much entertainment to neutrals as well as a souvenir win for some of those fans who had to witness their teams get knocked out.

In the end, football wins.

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin
December 13, 2018

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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