Guardiola: Mahrez had the balls to hit the penalty

Guardiola: Mahrez had the balls to hit the penalty
Riyad Mahrez (R) reacts with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

by Bertin Basson

Monday Oct 08, 2018. 14:29

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola praised Riyad Mahrez’s courage despite the Algerians failure to convert an 85th-minute penalty in the club’s goalless draw away to Liverpool this past weekend.

The Sky Blues wait for a league win at Anfield has now extended over 15 years, with Mahrez squandering a glorious chance to bring that run to an end in the dying moments of the clash on Sunday.

The former Leicester City winger blazed his effort over the crossbar with regular taker Sergio Aguero having been substituted earlier in the match.

“He had the courage and the balls to hit the penalty,” Guardiola said.

“In the training sessions he shoot the perfect penalties, but that sometimes happens and in the end, it is what it is.

“The taker was Sergio, but Sergio was not there,” he continued. “In the end we practiced and he [Mahrez] wanted to shoot in the muddle and strong, but in the end that sometimes happens.

“We had our chances in the last minutes to win the game, but we missed it and next time we are going to try and do better.

Mahrez has now missed five of his last eight spot-kicks and will be unlikely to raise his hand once the next opportunity from the spot arises.

The 27-year-old will next be in action for Algeria who are in action in back-to-back 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Benin this month.

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