Wayne Hennessey was the man of the hour this evening as he denied Remo Arnold from 12 yards with an impressive save to win Crystal Palace their first clash of the pre-season schedule.
The Welsh shot-stopper guessed right and dived to Arnold’s left where he met the penalty and made no mistake about beating the ball to safety.
Asked how he would normally prepare for facing a spot-kick, Hennessey revealed that he would typically have some idea as to which direction he should move. Tonight, however, he had no such prior knowledge.
He said: “Especially in the league you always get a booklet from [goalkeeping coach] Dean Kiely. We kind of study the strikers and midfielders so we get an idea of where they do [place their penalty] because everyone likes to have their favourite place. We work on it a lot and it’s been working well.
WAYNE SAVES!— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) July 9, 2019
“It was a very good standard. I thought our lads were very good as well. There was no booklet today but you’ve got to go off and try and read it as best you can and it came off really well.
“I didn’t have a very long holiday which was nice because I stayed in shape and sharp with Wales and I had just under three weeks. It was really good to come back and see the lads again and get a kick of the ball again and meet new faces.”
Set to be the team’s seventh penalty taker, Hennessey managed to prevent the shootout from going quite so far but was keen to comment on two teammates - goalscorer Christian Benteke and new signing Stephen Henderson - as well as answering questions on his heroics.
“[Christian] has been on fire to be honest in training and really looks sharp. He scored a fantastic goal today and just missed that overhead kick as well. If that had gone in, that would have been the icing on the cake. [Henderson] has come in and done very well. We’ve got a fantastic bunch of lads here.”
Hennessey’s save against Luzern means that the Eagles enter Saturday’s game with BSC Young Boys in a strong position. The Swiss champions face Eintracht Frankfurt tomorrow and will oppose Roy Hodgson’s men at 2pm BST on the 13th.
For more post-reaction and to watch the full penalty shoot-out alongside highlights from the rest of the game, keep an eye on Palace TV either by clicking here or ‘Palace TV’ in the app.