Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan has hailed Claudio Bravo as a 'penalty killer' following his heroics in the Carabao Cup victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday, as Pep Guardiola's side qualified for the quarter-finals after winning the penalty shoot-out.
Bravo made three vital saves throughout the 120 minutes of action, as well as two crucial stops during the shoot-out victory, which earned him the accolade of being crowned the man of the match.
The 34-year-old has found himself on the periphery of City's team this season, following the arrival of Ederson in the summer. However, Bravo's penalty heroics at the Etihad - which came just four months after his three spot kicks saves in Chile's Confederations Cup semi-final win over Portugal - have led to Gundogan hailing him as a penalty saving expert.
He told the club's website: “I think he’s a penalty killer! He showed it with Chile as well. Even for us as outfield players, but I think especially for a goalkeeper, when you don’t play every week, when you don’t get that rhythm, it’s quite challenging.
Somehow Claudio Bravo allowed the pressure to get to him last year, this is the real keeper that Pep bought on display tonight.— Tim Smallbone (@TimSmallbone) October 24, 2017
“And when you play 120 minutes, for a goalkeeper, it’s more about concentration, you have to always be 100 per cent concentrated.
“Especially the one-on-ones he saved, he was just brilliant. Last week in the training, we had a few penalties and he saved a lot of them. We are just happy to have him and today he was definitely man-of-the-match.
Gundogan was quick to play down suggestions that he had succumbed to injury during the Carabao Cup tie, insisting it was just cramp after playing the full 120 minutes for the first time since being out of action for nine months with a cruciate ligament injury.
He added: “The last ten minutes were really tough for me. Fortunately, it doesn’t look that bad. I don’t think I’ve pulled something.
“It feels like coming from zero to a hundred! 110 minutes I could handle in a very good way, but the last ten minutes, my legs were cramping everywhere, especially in the groin.
“I didn’t want to leave the field and leave my team one man down, but, yeah, the last 10 minutes I couldn’t take an important part of the game. Normally I would also have taken a penalty but I was scared that when I shoot something bad would happen!"