Anytime we get keepers taking penalties, we should cherish it. The Europa League Final yesterday was mostly dogshit, as Manchester United couldn’t turn control of the ball for pretty much the entire second half result into a second, winning goal. By the time extra-time rolled around, they had punched themselves out, but Villareal didn’t do too much beyond hoping that United would just fall over instead of looking to land a knockout blow. It was a hard watch.
But the penalty shootout will be remembered for a long time. Neither side missed. The original five for each team. And then five more in sudden death. 20 straight makes. Which is rare, because once you get to the seventh or eighth taker, you’re getting to guys who definitely didn’t want to take one or their managers didn’t want them anywhere near the penalty spot in the first place.
And yet all of them were buried expertly. Out of the first 20 penalties, each keeper might have gotten a hand to one or two each. Corners, the roof of the net, they were all being hit with regularity.
Which meant that the keepers had to take one. This maybe happens once a season, anywhere. It’s beyond the position player in baseball pitching (especially now). It’s a D-lineman having to kick a field goal. Geronimo Rulli stepped up for Villareal first and slotted his home so expertly it looked like he takes them all the time. Finally, United’s David De Gea blinked, serving up an apology of a penalty that looked like he never takes them, because he doesn’t.
It’s pretty baller to make your penalty, simply swap places with your counterpart, and then stone him cold to win the whole thing. This is the good stuff