Goalkeeper turns to unusual shootout tricks ahead of potential Messi meeting

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Nahuel Guzman turned to some unique mind games methods as he faced penalties for Club Tigres in the Leagues Cup (Image: Twitter/ Club Tigres)
Nahuel Guzman turned to some unique mind games methods as he faced penalties for Club Tigres in the Leagues Cup (Image: Twitter/ Club Tigres)

Lionel Messi's heroics for Inter Miami may have grabbed the headlines in the Leagues Cup but one goalkeeper caught the eye as he turned to magic tricks during a penalty shootout.

The Argentine hero has been the standout star in the tournament between clubs from Mexico and the US so far with his five strikes in just three appearances. However, Club Tigres stopper Nahuel Guzman can probably lay claim to the oddest moment in the competition so far, with a literal moment of magic for his side.

The Liga MX giants had played out a 1-1 draw with MLS outfit Vancouver Whitecaps, with Andre Vite's opening the scoring for the Canadians before former Marseille marksman Andre-Pierre Gignac levelled proceedings. With a place in the last 16 of the Leagues Cup on the line, the lottery of penalties ensued.

Naturally, all eyes were on 37-year-old Guzman as he was presented with the chance to become the hero during the shootout. Nobody could have quite predicted what the veteran stopper would have up his sleeve - or in his mouth, for that matter - as his opponents faced destiny from twelve yards, though.

As he prepared to face the fourth attempt from the spot, the goalkeeper appeared to be trying to delay his adversaries as they stepped up to the plate. Then, the Tigres stalwart stooped over and looked to be in some sort of discomfort before reaching for his mouth, much to the bemusement of players and spectators alike.

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Any concerns for the six-time international's welfare would be fleeting as he then unfurled a streamer from his mouth, as he attempted to distract his foe before the spot-kick. His antics did not stop there either, as he clutched his stomach and grimaced in manner that would be more associated with a mime artist than a goalkeeper.

Perhaps understandably, the former Newell's Old Boys player was booked as a result of his bizarre behaviour after he took mind games to new, unprecedented heights. There was some method to the strange escapade, however, with Ranko Veselinovic striking a feeble attempt from the spot.

Goalkeeper turns to unusual shootout tricks ahead of potential Messi meetingStopper Nahuel Guzman turned to magic tricks as as he faced penalties for Club Tigres in the Leagues Cup (Club Tigres / Twitter)
Goalkeeper turns to unusual shootout tricks ahead of potential Messi meetingThe Club Tigres goalkeeper followed in the footsteps of compatriot Emi Martinez as he faced penalties (Club Tigres / Twitter)

Whether he was left perplexed by the antics of the stopper remains to be seen but there is no doubt that Guzman looked the more confident party as he saved the shot. His unique act would ultimately prove pivotal as the team from Monterrey emerged victorious, scoring every one of their attempts to win the shootout 5-3.

Having got past Vancouver in the Round of 32, they will face local rivals Monterrey in the last 16 as they look to become the fourth Mexican club to taste glory in the competition. Tigres could come up against Messi's Inter Miami in the semi finals of the tournament.

Argentinian goalkeepers have gained something of a reputation for their antics during penalty shootouts, with Emi Martinez's attempts to distract his opponents in the World Cup final versus France in 2022 now legendary. In that instance, his attempt at mind games would see him etch his name into football history, as the nation became world champions for a third time.

Tom Beattie

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