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Almunia expected Watford exit

Watford goalkeeper Manuel Almunia was ready to book his summer holidays when Leicester were awarded their stoppage-time penalty in Sunday's extraordinary play-off semi-final.

Last Updated: 13/05/13 at 14:19 Post Comment

Manuel Almunia: Thought Watford's season was over

Manuel Almunia: Thought Watford's season was over

With the tie level at 2-2 and extra-time looming, referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot after Marco Cassetti nudged Anthony Knockaert to the ground.

Knockaert stepped up to take the penalty which would have sent Leicester to Wembley but Almunia saved it, and the rebound, before Watford broke away and Troy Deeney netted the winner in the 97th minute.

"It was a dramatic one, the kind of game you dream about and sometimes it happens," said Almunia.

"It's the good side of football but the bad side is for Leicester, I feel sorry for them. When the ref gave the penalty I was nearly thinking of my holidays, there were only a couple of minutes left. But I was very relaxed.

"We watched the penalty takers on a DVD but this guy wasn't on it. So I did nothing special, I just guessed the right side and it hit my legs.

"The ball dropped in front of me, I saw the guy come in and the ball hit me again. Then I thought football might give us something good in the last minute and Troy finished the job.

"It was great in the dressing room afterwards; singing, jumping around to music and some beers - just to rehydrate the body."

Former Arsenal keeper Almunia will captain the Hornets at Wembley in a fortnight in what will be the 35-year-old's first appearance at the national stadium.

"I haven't played there but I was on the bench in the Carling Cup final against Birmingham," he added.

"You have to take it like just another game - it will be a very special one but once we are on the pitch it will just be another game.

"The job's not done yet. We will rest at home, have a few days off, then come back a week before Wembley and we have a big job to do.

"In football it doesn't matter where you are; Arsenal, Watford or in League Two, moments like this are great. With football in this country something always happens. That's why people admire English football, it's so unpredictable."

Midfielder Almen Abdi is confident the Hornets can finish the job and secure promotion back to the Barclays Premier League.

The 26-year-old Switzerland international said: "We have played great football this season but yesterday we showed outstanding character as well. It was an amazing feeling.

"Our confidence is very high now after winning a game like that. If we play our football, I think we are going to win this final."

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Readers' Comments

H

ow are people still backing Arsenal for the title? It's like you're predicting the tide not to come in; Arsenal will finish third or fourth and make the quarter final of the Champions League. It was ever thus.

thefuldutch
F365's Season Predictions

N

othing screams 'Panic!!' when your new manager brings Fellaini on as a sub for your star signing of the summer and within 5 minutes you concede the winner. I know it is only the first game in but I would seriously be sh1**ng myself I was a Man Utd supporter. This has the potential of being very nasty indeed.

stevemelbourne
Now Are You Nervous, Louis?

I

n the words of Pete Townsend, meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. Though I would comment that it's 3 more points than we picked up in the same fixture last year, so that's a 100% improvement.

uncle monty
No Sign That Liverpool Will Lessen Attacking Intent

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