They were made to fight for it but Real Madrid saw off Liverpool to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League.
In truth, the tie was won in the first leg.
Zinedine Zidane’s side beat Liverpool 3-1 at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano and took that two-goal cushion to Anfield.
And despite missing the likes of Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, they held firm to hold the Premier League champions to a 0-0 draw.
They may not have had three key defenders but who needs a strong defence when you have Casemiro sitting in front of it?
The Brazilian earned the Man of the Match award for his display in the defensive midfield role.
He was brilliant.
And his actions in the first half of the match set the tone.
In the opening minutes, Liverpool captain James Milner crunched Karim Benzema in a strong challenge that went unpunished.
Casemiro wasn’t having any of it.
Within minutes, he got revenge for his teammate.
With the ball on the touchline right in front of the Liverpool bench, Casemiro went lunging in on Milner completely wiping him out. The Liverpool staff - including Jurgen Klopp - and players went mad as Casemiro then squared up to Andy Robertson. While, in the background, Zidane can be seen laughing.
Casemiro was booked for his tackle but his job was done.
After the match, the midfielder was delighted with his side’s performance but insisted that they’re now looking towards facing Getafe on Sunday.
“We knew it was going to be difficult, especially because of the rival we had,” Casemiro said per Football-Espana.
“It’s difficult to play here but the team’s work has been fantastic. Today, everyone did their job. We knew we had the advantage but we played to win.
"They have a lot of intensity and a great coach, but the key lies in the work, and that’s what has determined the qualification. There’s no favourite [in the semi-final]. We’re thinking about the next game in La Liga.”News Now - Sport News