NEWS
Saturday March 30 2013
'I saved a Balotelli penalty!'

It is often said that Mario Balotelli has never missed a penalty at any level, but the Reggiana goalkeeper insists he denied the striker in 2006.

Balotelli has a 100 per cent success rate from the spot in Serie A, the Premier League, international and Cup competitions.

The saying goes that SuperMario has never failed to convert a penalty, even in friendlies or games between ranks.

However, 24-year-old Costantino Marini has come forward to wreck that theory.

“I saved a Balotelli penalty. SuperMario is not infallible,” he told Brescia Oggi.

“Nobody seems to remember that incident. It was a game between the Lumezzane Allievi youth team and Reggiana.

“Balotelli stepped up three times during that game. He missed one, I saved the second, then he scored the third.”

The Milan and Italy hitman was only 16 at the time, but broke into the Inter senior squad two years later.

“It is something satisfying and makes me very proud to know when I watch him score against Brazil, while I am in the amateur Leagues and only my parents believe in me.

“I decided to follow my instinct and go to my left after a slight feint to my right. I was able to parry it, even though the shot was powerful.

“The ball stayed in the area and was begging to be turned in on the rebound, but I was so determined that I got there first.

“If you think about it, that day still says a lot about Balotelli,” added Marini. “Not many teenagers would step up for a third penalty after failing two in the space of an hour. It seemed perfectly natural to Mario, and it was the winning goal.”

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