It was a world-class save to preserve a point for the Caltex Socceroos but Mat Ryan played down his heroics in Tuesday night’s draw against Japan but he conceded the Socceroos were clearly not their usual lively selves.
With scores locked at 1-1 with just 16 minutes left, Ryan produced a stunning save at full stretch to somehow keep out Yu Kobayashi’s header.
Full-back Gokotu Sakai raced clear down the right and looped over a cross which was perfectly met by the attacker with a downward header.
The ball seemed destined to nestle in the bottom corner of the net, until Ryan got down low and with the ball behind him was able to push it around the post for a corner.
“When the situation is there for me to be involved, I just have to be there to help the team,” Ryan told www.socceroos .com.au.
“I was probably a little bit lucky. It was a loopy one and he didn’t get a lot of pace behind it.
“That probably gave me the opportunity to get down and save it. Thankfully for the team I was able to get there.
“They are the saves you have to make as a keeper and I felt I did well on that one.
“Unfortunately I couldn’t save the first one so I just have to go away, assess my game and keep trying to improve.”
It’s typically modest from Ryan, who was excellent in both games in the last week despite only just returning to action following an injury.
But the Valencia gloveman was far more forthright when it came to assessing the Caltex Socceroos performance, particularly in the first half.
“There might have been a little bit of doubt or belief in what we were doing or the game plan,” Ryan conceded.
“It was a strange sensation and the ambience in the team was weird. It was probably doubting our set up a little bit and that sort of thing. I can’t really think of anything else.
“When those doubts happen, that’s when things don’t flow so well.
“But we got the kick up the arse we deserved at half-time. We were the better team in the second half, got the goal but unfortunately just couldn’t go on and find the winner.”
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