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Penalty howlers: Six more spot-kick bloopers

| 10.02.2022

The best – or worst – penalty howlers in football

Wilfried Zaha fluffed his lines as he missed a penalty in Crystal Palace’s draw at Premier League rivals Norwich on Wednesday night.

The Ivory Coast international had just equalised with a fine strike before scuffing wide a spot-kick when given the chance to put the Eagles ahead.

The effort sees Zaha – who is 16/5 to make amends of sort by scoring against Brentford on Saturday – join a list of memorable penalty howlers as we recall others who have suffered 12-yard terrors.

Ademola Lookman – Fulham

Having fallen behind to a stoppage-time goal at West Ham last season, Fulham were offered a lifeline as Said Benrahma fouled Tom Cairney, allowing on-loan forward Lookman the chance to score his second goal for the Cottagers.

Instead, the RB Leipzig man attempted a cheeky Panenka-style penalty, tamely chipping the ball straight into the grateful hands of Lukasz Fabianski.

“I’m disappointed and angry,” then-Fulham boss Scott Parker said after the game, with Lookman apologising to supporters the next day.

John Terry – Chelsea

With the chance to score the winning penalty in a Champions League final shoot-out, Chelsea captain Terry stepped up against Manchester United in the Moscow rain back in 2008.

John Terry, Chelsea, penalty howlers

Cristiano Ronaldo’s miss meant Terry, takes the Blues’ fifth kick, could wrap up an historic first European Cup for the club.

The drenched surface did little to help the skipper, who slipped on his run-up and saw his penalty come back off the post as United went on to claim victory when Edwin van der Sar saved from Nicholas Anelka.

Robert Pires and Thierry Henry – Arsenal

One of the more bizarre penalty misses in living memory came in a Premier League meeting between Arsenal and Manchester City at Highbury in 2005.

Pires had already put the Gunners ahead from the spot before the hosts were awarded another penalty, this time Henry suggesting a surprise change as the pair plotted for Pires to lay the ball off for his compatriot to score.

But Pires barely grazed the ball with his studs, allowing the City defence to swarm in and clear before Henry could react – “It’s part of the game to make these kinds of mistakes. He’s a lucky boy because the team has not been punished,” an understanding Arsene Wenger said afterwards.

Peter Devine – Lancaster City

The most famous moment in Northern Premier League Division One Cup final history came courtesy of Devine in 1991.

His penalty in the shoot-out against Whitley Bay, however, was anything but divine as the former Bristol City, Blackburn and Burnley winger stumbled in his run-up, continued on towards the ball and swung his right boot, kicking it all of a yard before it came to a stop.

The moment was brought to the wider public attention when it was included on a bloopers video presented by Nick Hancock – but it was no laughing matter for Devine at the time as the north-easterners went on to claim the cup.

Chris Waddle – England

Bobby Robson’s England had captured the nation’s imagination on their run to the World Cup semi-final in 1990.

There they came up against West Germany and after a 1-1 draw the tie went to penalties, with Stuart Pearce the first to miss for the Three Lions.

But it was Waddle, a maverick of a player, who would miss the decisive spot-kick, skying his effort well over the crossbar to break English hearts. The winger recalled years later: “I hit it sweet, too sweet perhaps. I couldn’t have hit it any better but it flew over and was a horrible way to lose the game.”

Diana Ross – United States

Opening ceremonies ahead of any global sporting event are often noted for their oddities and the beginning to the 1994 World Cup was no different.

A packed Soldier’s Field Stadium in Chicago, which included newly-elected president Bill Clinton, certainly would not have been expecting to be treated to one of the all-time greatest penalty howlers.

But, as Motown’s own, Ross was clearly miming to her hit ‘I’m Coming Out’ but hit a bum note as she parted the crowd, took a stuttering run up and sent a penalty wide of the goal – which then broke in two as part of the gimmick, sadly there was nothing supreme about it.

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Author

Warren Barner