Perth Glory players have rallied around Brendon Santalab following the veteran’s penalty shootout anguish in Sunday’s grand final loss to Sydney.
Santalab’s cheeky panenka penalty turned into a horror moment, with goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne holding his ground to snaffle the easiest of saves.
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Santalab’s horror panenka
Sydney FC snared the title 4-1 on penalties with the next kick. Santalab had already announced his retirement earlier in the season, meaning his penalty flop was his last kick in professional football.
The 36-year-old was near inconsolable after the match.
But Glory players were quick to make it known that they didn’t blame Santalab or Andy Keogh for their penalty misses.
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“I pulled him aside and said, ‘Just keep your head up’ because he’s a mentor for me and a lot of other boys at the club,” Glory midfielder Chris Ikonomidis said of Santalab.
“He’s had a big impact for all of us this year and he’s got nothing to be embarrassed about or upset about.” Glory midfielder Neil Kilkenny also threw his support behind Santalab. “He was upset, like all of us. A bit gutted,” Kilkenny said. “It’s hard on him, the last A-League game.
“But he’s had a fantastic career, he’s a fantastic guy, and all the lads love him to bits.” Glory coach Tony Popovic said Santalab should be proud of his career despite the way it ended.
“He’ll reflect in his own time. No words are going to help him now,” Popovic said of Santalab’s penalty.
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“He’s probably down for a lot of reasons. His career is coming to an end in the A-league. It’s not the way he envisaged it happening.
“But that’s football. Football does these things. You have great moments, you have ups and downs.
“We’ve had plenty of highs, and today Santa is a bit down. But I’m sure when he reflects, he’ll be proud of the career he’s had.”