‘Wrong decision at the wrong time’: Santalab
Brendon Santalab has apologised for his botched ‘Panenka’ penalty kick in Perth Glory's Grand Final loss to Sydney FC on Sunday night.
The retiring striker’s cheeky attempt turned disastrous when Sydney ‘keeper Andrew Redmayne held his ground and comfortably gathered Santalab’s dinked effort.
It was the 36-year-old’s final act as a professional footballer, and Sydney sealed the Championship moments later, when Reza Ghoochannejhad buried the next spot-kick.
Santalab was visibly distraught in the aftermath as hopes of a fairytale ending to a successful 20-year career descended into a nightmare.
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“I just probably need some days to recover mentally,” Santalab told The Daily Telegraph.
“When you have played for that long and you end your career this way, it’s pretty hard to take.
“Wrong decision at the wrong time. Obviously with Redders [Andrew Redmayne] being my teammate before he probably had it in the back of his mind that I’ve done it before and took the chance to say in the middle.
It’s something I’ll always look back on and regret, but I’m also proud of the career I’ve had.
“I thank my teammates and apologise to the fans and my coach and my teammates and everyone involved at Perth Glory.”
‘He’s got nothing to be embarrassed about’
Perth players have since united in support of Santalab, who announced his retirement in April shortly before clinching the Premiers Plate with the Glory.
"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 forward Chris Ikonomidis told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"He's had a big impact for all of us this year and he's got nothing to be embarrassed about or upset about."
Santalab, born in Wollongong, was an AFC Champions League winner with Western Sydney Wanderers in 2014, where he developed a career second-wind under then-Wanderers mentor Tony Popovic and became a cult hero status with fans.