Even the mesmeric Lionel Messi misses penalties

Thank goodness for Lionel Messi. He's a joy to watch.

Friday, 25th September 2015, 7:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 2:28 pm

Thank goodness for Lionel Messi. He's a joy to watch, he has mesmeric skills, and he scores wonderful goals. He also misses penalties. Quite a few in fact.

I don't imagine that will make Albion striker Tomer Hemed feel much better after his spot-kick was saved at Wolves. Of course, Hemed is in good company. Baggio and Bergkamp have failed at it. If you look closer to home, Southgate, Ince, Batty, and Pearce all have their own moments to forget.

I imagine there are probably a few readers who might have experienced it. I will own up, too. My penalty was saved in a semi-final cup game in the Southern Amateur Cup. I still occasionally re-live it in my mind.

The Israeli's miss was the first of his career and he won't have too many detractors after coolly slotting home the winner in injury-time from the spot at Fulham.

In fact, that goal at Craven Cottage may have been his downfall at Molineux. His tactic, one similar to the one I have seen employed by Ballotelli, is to stutter on the run up, wait for the keeper to commit one way, and go the other. Martinez faked to go right and went left.

Backroom staff and keepers spend time looking long and hard at techniques of saving penalties and I'm sure now at taking them after a few years of struggles from 12 yards.

So what is the best way to give yourself the best chance of scoring?

Research from John Moore's University suggested that a well-placed strike high to the corner is the most difficult to prevent. This technique, however, is difficult to perform, so the odds lengthen (never troubled Alan Shearer, mind).

Then you could try the inside of the side netting. Some go straight down the middle ,but eventually goalkeepers cotton on.

Something different ever time is another option. It is, of course, in the mind ...but the body must follow. And athletes now focus on routine and muscle memory. Will Tomer take the next one? I think so. Mind you, Sam Baldock may be tapping him on the shoulder.

Saturday was a missed opportunity, but not the only factor in the draw. He did hit the target - which is more than can be said for Diana Ross at the World Cup in 1994. That is scant consolation for him, or me, when I remember my own frustrating strike over 15 years ago.