Pepe Reina ends Mario Balotelli's successful penalty streak | inside World Soccer

There was a historic scene at the San Siro on Sunday as Pepe Reina became the first goalkeeper ever to save a Mario Balotelli penalty in a competitive match.

Mario Balotelli appears dejected after missing a penalty for AC Milan against Napoli
Mario Balotelli appears dejected after missing a penalty for AC Milan against Napoli

Photo: Getty Images

With AC Milan down 2-0 to Napoli, the referee awarded a penalty when Raúl Albiol brought down Balotelli inside the box.

Balotelli stepped up to take the spot-kick but the Italian forward was thwarted by a superb save from Reina, who did brilliantly to hold his ground and wait until the very last moment to dive.

In 26 previous attempts, Balotelli had scored all the penalties in his professional career.

"As always, we studied the Milan players. We knew Mario was very strong at penalties, but I managed to get it," Reina told Sky Sport Italia.

Napoli coach Rafa Benítez often orders his goalkeepers to study penalty-taking opponents and it would be no surprise if the Spaniard or his back room staff were responsible for this save.

"We have been putting together dossiers on penalty takers for years," added Benítez. "Our goalkeeping coach does a great job."


SIGN UP WITH BET365 FOR FREE BETS UP TO £200!