Antonin Panenka: Penalty maestro fighting for his life in intensive care after contracting coronavirus

Antonin Panenka, the former Czech footballer who created the famous dinked penalty, is in intensive care after contracting coronavirus, his former club Bohemians 1905 have said.

The 71-year-old is in a serious condition in hospital after falling ill, and the club said that he tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival.

A Bohemians 1905 statement read: “Antonin Panenka was taken to an intensive care unit today, in a serious condition.

“We will not comment more on his state. Tonda, let’s go!”

Panenka rose to fame at the 1976 European Championship by scoring a unique penalty in which he chipped the ball down the middle of the goal, a trademark shot that has since been copied by several greats of the game and named after him in his honour.

The shot gained so much attention as he chose to perform it in the Euro 76 final against West Germany, which went to a penalty shootout after scores were locked 2-2 after extra time.

With Germany’s Uli Hoeness missing the target, Panenka stepped up and dinked the ball into the net as a helpless Sepp Maier dived to his left, watching the ball loop into the goal to seal a 5-3 shootout victory and secure Czechoslovakia’s only major title to date.

Panenka made 58 appearances for Czechoslovakia between 1973 and 1982, scoring 17 goals as an attacking midfielder, and he left Bohemians in 1981 after 23 years with the club to join Austrian side Rapid Wien. He went on to represent VSE St Polten, SK Slovan Wien, ASV Hohenau and Kleinwiesendorf, before retiring from the game and returning to Bohemians as club president.

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