(in football (soccer ) and some other similar sports) a chance to score a goal or point without any defending players, except the goalkeeper, trying to stop it; the goal or point that is given if it is successful. This chance is given because the other team has broken the rules. Two minutes later Ford equalized with a penalty. We were awarded a penalty after a late tackle. I volunteered to take the penalty (= be the person who tries to score the goal/point) He missed a penalty in the last minute of the game.