There have been very few occasions when a series of penalties have been as dramatic as those which were experienced today in Osaka in the quarterfinals of the Junior Soccer World Challenge 2018. Barça and FC Persimmon had drawn 2-2 at the end of the 50 minutes, meaning the lottery of penalties would decide the match. After 28 spot-kicks and with Barça having already missed three chances to progress to the semi-finals, Adrian Gill ensured an 11-10 Blaugrana victory.
Thereafter, a range of emotions from Barça’s opponents reminded everyone of the gestures from Sergi Milà’s team in 2016, when they consoled the young players from Omiya Ardija after beating them in the final of this same tournament 1-0. It was a gesture that won them the Laureus prize for the Best Sports Moment of the Year.
Today was a repetition of those scenes. The young players of FC Persimmon, a young football school in the city of Kawasaki, plunged to the ground and started crying as soon as they had lost the match. The reaction of the Barça players was immediate, embracing their rivals one by one. It was a gesture that was appreciated by FC Persimmon’s coaching team and by the spectators, who applauded the U14B players when they left the pitch.