Sevilla-Salzburg Had The Most Penalty-Filled Half In UCL History

Never before have so many penalties been taken in one game, let alone one half.

The Seville skies opened up to a torrent of rain just before halftime, sending players to the locker room to regroup after an historic first half. The Sevilla-RB Salzburg match set a record for most penalties in a Champions League match — in the first half alone.

Sevilla and RB Salzburg played to a bizarre 1-1 draw on Tuesday in Seville to open Champions League play. The final score will take a back seat to the flood of penalty kicks awarded in the first half, when the referee pointed to the spot four times in the opening 42 minutes.

Never before had there been four penalties in a single Champions League match dating back to 2003-04, when those stats were first kept. Even more, Karim Adeyemi, a 19-year-old striker, drew three of those penalties.

Half of the PKs were scored, and half were missed. The first, taken by Adeyemi, was hit wide. Then Luka Sučić converted to give Salzburg the lead in the 21st minute. Soon, he had another chance, but the 19-year-old midfielder struck the post. Finally, Ivan Rakitić converted a late first-half pen for the home side to equalize in the 42nd minute.

Sadly, American attacking midfielder Brenden Aaronson wasn’t allowed to take any of Salzburg’s three penalties, even though you have to feel he’s to credit for the Concacafy nature of this match. Maybe he’ll get a chance at the next one. 

Half of the penalties awarded required the intervention of VAR. The first was initially ruled a foul outside of the box before the VAR said otherwise. The fourth was all the VAR, calling play back after it had initially continued.

Adding to the wild match was an unusual red card.

Early in the second half, Youssef En-Nesyri tried to earn a fifth penalty in the game — instead, he was sent off, booked for simulation after a pathetically flagrant flop. Because he was shown a yellow card in the first half, he was quickly shown his marching orders and Sevilla played most of the second half down to 10 men.

Later in the half, Oumar Solet was saved from the most embarrassing miss of the year by the offside flag. The Salzburg center back managed to miss a wide-open goal from six yards out, with the flag going up after the shocking fail.

Somewhat surprisingly, there were no penalty calls in the second half despite a shout for a Salzburg handball late, and the match finished 1-1. Salzburg likely would’ve taken a point on the road before kickoff, but considering it missed two penalties and played nearly half the match with a man advantage, I imagine new coach Matthias Jaissle will be disappointed with the result. 

Sevilla, meanwhile, will lament dropping points at home, but knows it’s still got a good chance to advance. Group G is arguably the weakest of the eight groups, also including Lille and Wolfsburg, who play later Tuesday.

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