Four Barcelona weapons to resolve a possible penalty shoot-out

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(From L) Barcelona's Polish forward #09 Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona's Spanish forward #27 Lamine Yamal and Barcelona's German midfielder #22 Ilkay Gundogan attend a training session on the eve of their UEFA Champions League last 16 second leg football match against SSC Napoli at the training center in Barcelona on March 11, 2024.
Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

FC Barcelona take on Napoli in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tonight, and both sides are gunning to come out as the winners in this tie. The 1-1 score with which the first leg ended keeps the tie open for both sides. Furthermore, this scoreline also allows for the possibility of tonight’s game going to extra time and penalties.

Xavi disclosed in his press conference before the match that his side was prepared for any possibility, including that of penalties. If such a point is reached tonight, Mundo Deportivo notes that there are four players who will be the most likely to take the first spot-kicks for the Catalans.

The case of Robert Lewandowski is clear, for whom putting the ball into the net has been his bread and butter. The Pole is one of the best players in the world when it comes to finishing chances, and he will definitely be the top choice for Xavi to take a penalty tonight.

After Lewandowski, Gundogan is the second in line to take penalties for Barcelona, as was clear in the last match against Mallorca. Although his spot-kick was saved by Rajkovic in the last match, the German still has a very good record of scoring penalties, having failed only 3 times in 17 attempts if the Mallorca one is excluded.

These three misses all came with Manchester City, while with Borussia Dortmund and the German national team, he scored all of his penalties. The one he missed against Mallorca was also his first miss with Barcelona, as he had scored the one against Las Palmas.

Joao Felix, if he is on the pitch, can be the third option for Xavi for the penalty kicks. Of the seven penalties he has taken in his career, he has only missed one and has scored three out of three penalties in the Champions League. Similarly, Raphinha has also scored seven out of the eight penalties he has taken.

There is more uncertainty on who the fifth penalty taker would be. Cancelo, Kounde, Fermin Lopez, Lamine Yamal, or Christensen can all be candidates for this responsibility, but none of them have any notable record of taking penalties in official matches.

On the other end, Ter Stegen will be defending Barcelona’s net, but it has been two years since he last saved a penalty. In his career, he has saved 10 out of the 58 penalties he has faced, with eight of them coming with Barcelona.

Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari
Ahmad Sarmad Ansari has been covering Spanish football as a writer for Barca News Network for the last one and a half year and as an amateur football fanatic for more than 10 years. He mainly covers on and off-field happenings taking place at Barcelona including transfer news, administrative changes, match reports, and any other eventful news coming out of the club.

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