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Nicola Zalewski: I was sure about my penalty

Nicola Zalewski assures he ‘knew what to do’ when taking the final penalty in a Roma shoot-out win over Feyenoord in the Europa League play-off.

The Giallorossi had drawn 1-1 at the Olimpico, mirroring the result from a week ago in Rotterdam, and extra time failed to break the deadlock.

It went to penalties, where Romelu Lukaku’s shot was saved. Mile Svilar made two crucial stops on David Hancko and Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

That left the pressure on Nicola Zalewski, a local kid and product of Roma’s youth academy who recently turned 22, and he delivered.

“There were some thoughts in my mind. But the important thing was that I knew what do and where I would put the ball.” Nicola Zalewski told Sky Sport Italia.

“I knew that I had to pick a corner and go hard, because their goalkeeper does get down quickly. But he gets down quite low. I lifted it a bit and that went well.”

Nicola Zalewski: We want to continue our journey and not stop here

He came on as a substitute in extra time for the exhausted Stephan El Shaarawy and humorously acknowledged his less-than-stellar performance.

“I wouldn’t say I came on well. I tried to give my best. But made a few mistakes, including one where I slipped. I was joking with the staff afterwards and said for every three offsides, I make up for it with a converted penalty.

“The important thing is that we won. Now we want to continue our journey and not stop here.”

Zalewski’s agent remarked that the Poland international is happier under Daniele De Rossi’s management than Jose Mourinho’s, as he is now being deployed as an attacking winger rather than a defensive wing-back.

“When there is a change of coach, there is no time to lose. You have to be effective and lately I’ve been missing that. But I feel calm and the coach has faith in me, as do my teammates.”

Alex Lundy
Alex Lundy
A lifelong football fan, Alex loves to dabble in its history, especially FIFA World Cup. But his love for sports doesn't end at football since he loves watching NBA and Formula1 too. Reading novels and watching classic films takes the rest of his time.
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