West Ham’s Spanish stopper on denying Lukaku
PUBLISHED: 13:15 07 March 2016
Press Association Images
Hammers keeper Adrian says penalty save was the most important point of the match
When referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot and that man Romelu Lukaku grabbed the ball to take the kick to make it 3-0, you would be forgiven for thinking that it was game over for West Ham.
Seconds later, Hammers keeper Adrian had made the save and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Spanish stopper certainly has form in this department. He saved three in a row last season, even telling the taker where they were going to put it beforehand, and this one was no slice of luck either.
“Lukaku is one of the best penalty takers,” said Adrian after Saturday’s magnificent 3-2 victory. “But sometimes I have seen him try to wait until the last moment and when the keeper goes down he chips it over him.
“I just stayed in the middle and waited until the last moment and finally I managed to save it.”
Some would say he moved off his line and should have been retaken, but when a striker stutters in his run-up, leniency should go to the goalkeeper. Whatever your view on that, it was the pivotal moment in the match.
“Yes, it was the most important situation in the game because we were 2-0 down and if they score the third one, it would have been over,” said the 29-year-old.
“When I saved the penalty I really believed that we could get back, even from 2-0 down.
“I think we played well, we kept the ball and created a lot of chances and after the penalty, the team changed their mentality and we went directly at them. We deserved it in the end.”
They certainly did. There was 20 minutes left when Adrian made his save, one of many he made during the afternoon, but there was still time for their momentous comeback.
Three goals in the last 12 minutes gave West Ham the three points to make it a fantastic week in their battle for Champions League football.
“The top of the table is so tight,” he said. “If you lose two games in a row you can lose your position, but we have got maximum points from our last three games and I think we are in a good position in the league and we also have the FA Cup.”
Things could not be going much better though Adrian still could not stop Lukaku making it eight out of eight against the Hammers.
“In the first half the first chance they have they scored with Lukaku again,” reflected the keeper. “He scored against us again, but this time he is not happy because they lost!”
That sums it up perfectly.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Newham Recorder. Click the link in the orange box above for details.