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BARCELONA-SEVILLA

Advantage Sevilla if cup final goes to penalty shoot-out

Under Unai Emery Sevilla have won three consecutive penalty shoot-outs. Barcelona have not faced one since the 1998 cup final against Mallorca.
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Advantage Sevilla if cup final goes to penalty shoot-out
MICHAEL BUHOLZER AFP

If Sunday’s Copa del Rey final goes to penalties, Sevilla have an advantage over Barcelona. With Unai Emery at the helm, Sevilla have never lost a penalty shoot-out and have scored their last 13 consecutive spot-kicks in knock-out competition. The last player to miss was Vitolo, in the last 16 of the Europa League against Betis in the Benito Villamarín in 2014-14. Following the Canarian’s miss, Coke, Kévin Gameiro, Alberto Moreno and Ivan Rakitic banged in the next four to see Sevilla through.

Los Nervionenses were again forced to decide matters from the spot against Benfica in the final in Turin. In that spectacular shoot-out Carlos Bacca, Stéphane Mbia, Coke and Gameiro hit the target with Emery’s famous penalty prescription of “hard and on your natural side.”

The most recent shoot-out, against Athletic in this season’s quarter-finals, was a perfect one. Coke, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Stephen N’zonzi and Gameiro all belted home to send Sevilla into the semi-finals.

Coke and Gameiro are a common factor in Sevilla’s shoot-out line-up. They always take one. In this prodigious decade, Sevilla also beat Espanyol in the Europa League on penalties (Frédéric Kanouté, Ivica Dragutinovic and Antonio Puerta all scored while Dani Alves missed).

Sevilla’s last loss in a penalty shoot-out came in the Champions League against Fenerbahçe in 2007-08, in the last 16. Sevilla could not get past keeper Volkan Demirel: only Kanouté and Dragutinovic found their spot while Julien Escudé, Enzo Maresca and then-captain Alves were outfoxed by the Turkish stopper.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s abiding memory of penalties comes from the European Cup final against Steaua Bucharest 30 years ago, a game that was played in Sevilla’s Sánchez Pizjuan stadium. Following a 0-0 draw, Barça missed all four of their shoot-out attempts.

The last shoot-out Barcelona faced was in the Copa del Rey final of 1998 against Mallorca, with current Barça boss Luis Enrique on the pitch. Jovan Stankovic and Rivaldo scored during the match and the Serbian also missed a spot-kick that would have handed the Balearic side the cup. In the shoot-out, which went to eight kicks, Rivaldo, Albert Celades and Luis Figo all missed and a former Barça player, Xabier Eskurza, missed the decisive sudden death kick.