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05.03.2009 12:33

Pinto and Hesp, parallel experiences against Mallorca

Roger Bogunyà

José Manuel Pinto emulated Ruud Hesp on Wednesday. In the cup against Mallorca, both keepers had identical performances, but 11 years apart.

29 April, 1998. Eskurza was about to take the eighth shot from 11 metres in a seemingly interminable penalty shootout. If he missed, Barça won the cup. Eskurza shot low down the middle, but Hesp could still get a foot to it to turn the ball away and win his side the title. “You need luck to stop penalties, and I was lucky”, said the Dutchman after collecting what is still the last Copa del Rey trophy Barça have won.

Pinto, a photocipy

439ppf0758.jpg4 March 2009. Once again against Mallorca. With the score 1-0, Martí was about to take a penalty to level the tie, and Barça playing with only ten men and all. But Pinto, like Hesp in his day, turned a low hard strike down the middle away, and like the Dutch stopper before him, with his feet. The penalty was saved, and that was the turning point in a game that ended up with Barça drawing (1-1), enough to make it into the final after an eleven year absence – the last time, of course, being the one starring Hesp.

Pinto, cup keeper

QM3D4310.jpgJosé Manuel Pinto is the only Barça played that has played every minute of this season’s cup campaign. In total, 751, and he has only conceded five goals in eight matches. Atlético Madrid beat him once in each leg, Espanyol managed a couple at the Camp Nou and the fifth was scored by Mallorca last night.

First penalty stop of the season

The ONO Estadi saw just the third penalty awarded against Barça this season, the only others having been blown in Santander and the Vicente Calderón, both with Valdés in goal, and both being successfully converted. So Pinto’s save, which paved the way to qualification for the final, was the first penalty stop of the season for the club.
Pinto and Hesp, parallel experiences against Mallorca
Before the penalty
“I’m going this way, to my left”, was what Pinto clearly gestured to Martí seconds before he took the penalty. The Mallorca player nodded okay. Pinto kept his word, and dived to his left, but his legs stayed in the middle of the goals, just where Martí aimed the ball. “I won the penalty game”, confessed Pinto after the match.

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