The first man to save a penalty from Liverpool rebel Mario Balotelli was Pepe Reina

Pepe Reina

Pepe Reina saved a spot-kick from Mario Balotelli in September 2013, only his second miss to date.

There was certainly a hot topic of debate after the Liverpool game with Besiktas last night, no prizes for guessing who it involved. Of course it was Italian striker Mario Balotelli at the centre of the storm.

Liverpool were awarded a penalty late in their Europa League clash with Besiktas at Anfield last night. Then came the Balo incident. He seemed to defy team orders by taking the penalty instead of Jordan Henderson, the captain on the night.

It was a moment that could have caused severe controversy on the night, but luckily he slotted the ball into the back of the net. Working as a pundit for the game Balotelli's club skipper Steven Gerrard told the nation that he felt the striker had 'disrespected' Henderson and the subject is still sore.

However it must be remembered that Balotelli's record from 12 yards is absolutely impeccable. He scored the first 26 penalty kicks of his professional career and to date has only ever missed two.

Interestingly enough, the first miss was against a former Liverpool goalkeeper.

In September 2013 AC Milan lost at home to Napoli in a Serie A match. The game ended 2-1, after Balotelli had seen a penalty earlier in the game well saved by Liverpool cult hero Pepe Reina.

The Spaniard was still a Liverpool player at the time, on loan at the club from The Reds after they had snapped up Simon Mignolet in the summer.

He perfected a wonderful save, as Balotelli had seemingly placed the ball well into the far corner, to earn Napoli an eventual win. The pair even shared a moment of mutual respect after the game, with Balotelli insisting that Reina take his shirt at full-time, which the now Bayern Munich goalie did.

He missed his second spot-kick two months later, this time Mattia Perin of Genoa thwarting him, which was his second miss in a row.

Balotelli should not have gone against team orders. However when he is on the pitch he should be taking the penalties in the first place. He has the perfect mindset for a penalty taker and the ability to strike the ball as true as any of them.

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