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

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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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terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

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he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

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o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

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