After conceding a sloppy goal in normal time, Estonian national team goalkeeper Karl Jakob Hein ended Tuesday evening as the hero for Arsenal U-21s. Hein saved the decisive penalty during the shootout in the Gunners' EFL Trophy group stage tie against Swindon Town.
Arsenal's U-21 side were up against League Two side Swindon Town away from home on Tuesday in the group stages of this year's EFL (English Football League) Trophy. The Gunners found themselves behind as early as the sixth minute when Reuell Waters clumsily put the ball into his own net.
However, they were only behind for five minutes with England youth international left-back Lino Sousa heading home a cross from the left to bring the tie level.
Karl Jakob Hein would probably rather forget Swindon's second goal of the game. After receiving a back pass on the edge of his six-yard box, the Estonian number one lost his footing and was dispossessed by Tariq Uwakwe. The Robins' striker then calmly scooped the ball over an incoming Arsenal defender to give the home side a 2-1 lead with 34 minutes on the clock.
After the break, Arsenal pressed hard in search of an equalizer, but Swindon's put up firm resistance in defense, clearing the ball off the line on more than one occasion.
Finally, in the 82nd minute, substitute Jimi Gower found the net with a neat left-footed finish to make it 2-2.
Arsenal had one more chance to win it in normal time, when Khayon Edwards almost capitalized on a fumble from Swindon 'keeper Lewis Ward, only to see his attempt fly high over the crossbar.
And so it came down to penalties.
After the first six spot kicks were dispatched comfortably, Hein made amends for his first-half error by pushing Benn Ward's strike onto the post. With all the remaining penalties scored, Hein's save proved decisive as Arsenal U-21s recorded a 5-4 victory.
The EFL Trophy, is a cup competition for all clubs in the third and fourth tier (EFL League One and EFL League Two) of English football. Since the 2016-17 season, 16 U-21 teams from Premier League and Championship clubs have also been able to participate.
In group stage matches, if the scores are level after 90 minutes, the winner is decided via a penalty shootout, with no extra-time played. The winning side is then awarded two points, rather than the usual three, had they won the tie in normal time.
Arsenal U-21s will also face Reading and Exeter City during the group stage of this season's competition.
Editor: Michael Cole