Sunderland and Man United players gave a masterclass in pitiful spot-kicks last night, but it wasn’t the worst shoot-out we have seen at the top level.
Sunderland deprived the Red Devils of a tilt at their Manchester neighbours in the Capital One Cup Final and perhaps David Moyes’ best chance of silverware, but his charges limped out after their shortcomings from 12 yards. Not that Sunderland were a whole pile better.
Only Darren Fletched was successful, and even that was a close call as Adnan Januzaj, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Rafael failed miserably with their attempts.
The 2-1 defeat will live long in the memory for the quality of penalties, or more to the point the lack their of, but it still falls short of one game in particular.
There have been plenty of examples of lower-profile games faring out in similar circumstances, even an U-10 Cup game in Derby in 1998 has been mentioned where one school team won 2-1 after 66 penalties, but at the highest level the 1986 European Cup Final will take some beating.
Steaua Bucharest v Barcelona 1986
Back in the late 80’s Romanian football was a force to be reckoned with and Steaua were their shining lights as they took on a skilful Barcelona side.
The game itself turned out to be one of the most unforgettable 120 minutes ever played, and is considered one of the most tedious finals in recent times.
The shoot-out didn’t get much better – although the sheer incompetence of the players at least made it tense. Both teams missed their first two spot-kicks before the Romanians managed to score the next two. That was two more than Barcelona in the entire shoot-out and Steaua won 2-0.
One of the four Barcelona players to fluff their lines was Marcos Alonso Pena, whose son Marcos did score from his spot-kick last night for the Mackems.
The only man to come out with any credit was Steaua’s keeper, Helmuth Duckadam, who saved all four penalties.
It turned out to be the peak of his career as he was forced to retire a few weeks later due to a rare vascular disease.