VIDEO.  MHSC: how Téji Savanier, after a failed panenka two years ago, became the king of penalties, in the race towards a fabulous record

With a fourteenth consecutive penalty scored against PSG, Montpellier’s pyrotechnician, Téji Savanier, established himself as one of the best shooters of the 21st century. As long as he doesn’t try a Panenka…

In the “lulu”! Téji Savanier’s last penalty? In the top corner, evidently, during a prolific MHSC-PSG (2-6), on March 17 at La Mosson. Gianluca Donnarumma, although he started on the right side, saw nothing but fire. Like thirteen of his predecessors, the Parisian goalkeeper has also suffered the law of Montpellier, author of fourteen consecutive shots on goal in Ligue 1. An impressive streak that began two years ago, on April 3, 2022 against Brest, his victim favorite (4). Calmness, precision, efficiency, angry fist at the exit, it’s all there.

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Téji Savanier has converted his last 14 penalties in the championship, all with the @MontpellierHSC

\ud83c\udfc6 We wish you to reach the 17th of @_fabinhotavares \ud83c\udde7\ud83c\uddf7, historical record… \ud83d\ude4f pic.twitter.com/GgJzCy9MWH

— League 1 Uber Eats (@Ligue1UberEats) March 28, 2024

In the statistical tables, podiums seem promised. Wissam Ben Yedder (33 penalties), Alexandre Lacazette (28), Olivier Monterrubio (26), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (24), Pedro Pauleta, Neymar (23) and Savanier (23, including 4 with Nîmes Olympique), who is in good position in the Top 10 best penalty scorers of the 21st centurymy century. There are good people in the area, Téji now only talks to the exercise stars.

6my penalty of the season, tied with Mbappé

Against PSG he scored his sixth penalty of the season (100% correct), tied with Kylian Mbappé. He joins his teammate Whabi Kazhri (then at Saint-Etienne) in third place in the best series of successful penalties.

In the viewfinder, the record of the former Monegasque Fabinho (17), which would be within reach if his two penalties inflicted on Clermont had been counted (4-2 victory, a match that will be repeated due to the throwing of a firecracker). Paraphrasing the author Peter Handke, we can very well imagine “the anguish of the goalkeeper at the moment of the penalty” crossing swords with Maître Savanier.

Cursed Panenka against Nice

The time of doubts was left behind when, on March 12, 2022, the Hérault playmaker saw his shot on goal – a panenka – stopped by Niçois Walter Benítez, his third miss in four attempts, after having converted each of his first eight in the elite.

The panenka? I didn’t think about it, it just happened. I should have thought of that. Waiting time also has a lot to do with it. It was on purpose, but it’s all my fault. I apologize to the fans for this poorly executed penalty. “I tried, it didn’t work tonight, but I hope it works for me in the next few games.”justified at the time, in a premonitory way.

An anecdotal wink, the Argentine Benítez can be proud of being the only goalkeeper who has saved a Savanier penalty, the latter’s other two failures were deflected. This avalanche of figures and distinctions speaks of the player’s effectiveness for the benefit of the MHSC, with which he has a success percentage of 86% (19 penalties scored in 22 attempts).

The fascinating story of a face to face meeting

But it does not tell the whole story of this fascinating face-to-face that, as in every relationship between four eyes, contains what is visible and what happens in the head, where an inner voice whispers: cleans the air in the pressure firmament.

The T moment is so atomic on a psychological level that it fuels a literature on the subject, theses, expert opinions and even a controversy born two weeks ago between Bleus coach Didier Deschamps and Hubert Fournier, from the DTN (National Technical Director). of the Federation (FFF).

Noting the failure of French teams in penalty shootouts in major competitions, the latter recommended “a scenario that tries to contextualize the penalty shootout as much as possible”.

The coach admits that “I could use the word lottery”but insists on “balance of power between the shooter and the goalkeeper”. And to affirm: “It is impossible to recreate the same situation on a psychological and sporting level in a training session as in a match.” An impossible equation.

A marked preference for the left back

To cerebral questions, Savanier opposes a religious silence in the media, both to protect himself from bad luck and to not get out of his victorious routine, he who has scored half of his goals in Ligue 1 from the penalty spot (23 of 45). , 52%), a rare statistic.

Never explain yourself, never boast, so as not to break the veneer of “infallibility.” Platini, Zico, Sócrates, Maradona, Baggio, Beckam, Mbappé, many football stars have liquefied at the fateful moment.

A common denominator: pull hard

Fixed gaze on the ball, catlike footsteps, three steps of momentum, perfect body balance, the right-handed Téji already knows where and how he is going to hit. With a clear preference for the left back (11 times in his last 14 penalties) and that famous “lulu” (5), to make sure to return the opposing goalkeeper to his helplessness. Common characteristic of his fourteen penalties: Savanier shoots hard and rarely low to the ground.

Bilan by Téji Savanier: 11
Téji Savanier’s assessment: 11 “peños” shots to the left, 3 to the right.

Strong blow, flat foot, counterfoot, the Montpellier pyrotechnician has all the free time to vary the pleasures, served by ankle flexibility and watchmaker precision, which allow him to contain his emotions while preserving the killer instinct.

When the mind marries technical precision, Savanier drills the nets, hoping for his 15th consecutive achievement, perhaps this Sunday in Le Havre. A matter for specialists. Don’t forget to cross your fingers.

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