The most heartbreaking penalty miss

The story tooked place in the 1993-94 season of spanish domestic league. Going into the final day of the season, Deportivo La Coruña sat top of the La Liga table with 55 points. However Barcelona were breathing down their title rivals’ necks on 54 points. In one hand La Coruña playes the last game at home to Valencia – who had nothing to play for and in the other hand Barca had to better Deportivo’s result if they were to win the championship but they were playing Sevilla who still had hopes of securing European football. With minutes to go, Barcelona were comfortably beating Sevilla in the Nou Camp. All eyes were focused on the Riazor stadium of La Coruña where Deportivo could not find a way past Gonzalez in the Valencia goal. It was still goalless. But then, in the ulitmate last moments of the game, Depor’s Nando dummied a shot on the edge of the box and nudged the ball past Valencia’s Serer, who dangled his right boot. Nando went over it and the referee pointed to the spot. Players dropped their knees, praying. After ninety minutes of drudgery, Depor had their chance to win their first national title. But Donato, their set piece and penalty taking weapon, had been substituted though and the second enforcer didn’t want to take this responsibility. So under extreme pressure, it was Serbian defender Miroslav Djukic who put himself forward to take the most important penalty kick in Deportivo’s then-88 year history. With the Riazor ready to explode, Djukic steadied himself with a large gasp of Galician air. The referee blew his whistle and Djukic made his move, placing the ball with the inside of his boot, low and to the right of Gonzalez. His weak shot, though, was easily saved by the goalkeeper, who immediately stood up and punched the air. Valencia players – who seemingly had nothing to play for, apart from alleged Barcelona-sponsored cash – leapt with delight. The game finished 0-0 and Barcelona were champions. 

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