Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Maty Ryan hailed the side’s character and attitude following Sunday’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over Millwall at The Den.
Last-gasp goals from Jurgen Locadia and Solly March sent the tie to extra time, before Ryan saved from Mahlon Romeo and Jake Cooper fired over in sudden death, as the Seagulls clinched a place in the last four of the competition.
He said, “The key is to keep believing and the way it turned out today shows our never-say-die attitude worked.
“I’ve experienced shootouts before, but in the league, this season we’ve conceded quite a few penalties.
“I hadn’t saved one for the club this year, but when I went to the Asian Cup a few months ago I made a couple of saves which helped us through, I got one again today [Sunday] and the boys held their nerve and did their job.”
March’s late free-kick in the final minute of added time saw Ryan’s opposite number spill the midfielder’s effort into the net as the scores were levelled, sparking wild scenes of jubilation behind the goal.
But the Albion stopper also spoke about the conversation the two keepers had after the frantic contest, praising the Lions’ goalkeeper.
“I spoke to David [Martin] after the game, it happens unfortunately – myself and Shane [Duffy] mixed ourselves up in the second half but managed to rescue the situation.
“He’ll look at it and will think he could have done better, but I told him that one moment doesn’t define him as a goalkeeper.
“He’d been solid all game and he seemed to have plenty of character himself and knew you have to learn from your mistakes – aside from that he had a great game and I’m sure he’ll be better from the experience.”
The duo took centre stage as Jurgen Locadia, Solly March, Davy Propper, Dale Stephens and Lewis Dunk all stepped up to convert from the spot, and Ryan reflected on the shootout and the work that’s involved with preparation for such eventualities.
“We always prepare for penalties – these days you always use technology and try and gain an advantage,” he continued.
“You’d be naïve to not think that the opposition will have done the same and, in some ways, you can often cancel each other out.
“As goalkeepers you want to gain an upper hand in any way you can, but it comes down to the moment and whatever decision gets made, thankfully today that went in my and the team’s favour.”