in

Cornella keeper praised by Ter Stegen after twin penalty saves

BARCELONA (Reuters) – After saving two penalties from Barcelona but still losing Thursday’s Copa del Rey tie 2-0 in extra time, Cornella goalkeeper Ramon Juan could at least console himself with the praise of Barca’s number one, Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The 21-year-old got the better of Barca midfielder Miralem Pjanic from the spot in the first half and then also outsmarted Ousmane Dembele when the visitors got a second penalty late in the game, saving the Frenchman’s low shot with his foot.

He produced other superb saves to deny Francisco Trincao, Martin Braithwaite and Konrad de la Fuente but was finally beaten by Dembele and then Braithwaite at either end of extra time.

Barca’s Neto was playing down the other end but first-choice keeper and Germany international Ter Stegen, who was sitting on the bench, showed his appreciation for the youngster’s virtuoso display by embracing him after the final whistle.

“He told me I was very good and I’m absolutely delighted,” Ramon Juan told reporters.

The keeper said he had never saved two penalties before in his life, not even in a shootout, but had carefully prepared for the game with the club’s goalkeeping coach.

“We spoke about who would take their penalties and how they would take them and then it came down to intuition,” he explained.

“I had seen two penalties Pjanic took for Juventus and I thought he would shoot to my right. Dembele’s was about instinct.”

Barca coach Ronald Koeman said Ramon Juan had been Cornella’s best player but did not hide his anger at his side failing to convert either of their penalties. Usual penalty taker Lionel Messi was suspended.

Cornella coach Guillermo Fernandez Romo also singled out the 21-year-old, who the Spanish media tipped to end up in La Liga soon following his heroics.

“We have quality players and an extraordinary goalkeeper,” he said.

(Reporting by Richard Martin, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Reference