Dynamo goalkeeper Igor Leshchuk shared his emotions after the Russian Cup win over Baltika (1:1, 5:4 on penalties), in which our goalkeeper denied one of the penalties and was named the man of the match.
— What did you feel before the penalty shootout?
— I was calm. Penalty shootout is a lottery. It brings more stress to outfield players than to the goalkeeper. When the Baltika players came to take a penalty, I just acted according to my own methods.
— How did you manage to deny the first penalty?
— It happened thanks to my methods. I denied only one of the five penalty kicks, but I could definitely have denied two more, so it's a pity. It is important that one penalty saved was enough, and we advanced into the next stage.
— What did Dmitry Izotov tell you before the penalty shootout?
— He wanted me to be calm and work on the player, because the penalty shootout is more stressful for an outfield player than for a goalkeeper.
— It has been a long time since Dynamo participated in the penalty shootout. What kind of emotions did you experience when you realized the importance of the moment?
— In this game, I managed to remove all thoughts that any mistake could prevent us from advancing into the next round. I was able to get it all out of my head. The guys converted all penalties, I denied one, and that was enough to win.
— Did you train penalties during the preparation cycle?
— Honestly speaking, we didn't even talk about it inside the team. We hoped to win in regular time.
— Why couldn't the team keep the lead in regular time?
— We started making silly mistakes by the end of the second half. That led to a conceded goal. Perhaps some lack of concentration appeared. Everything happens. There is no need in pointing fingers, because everyone makes mistakes. We are a whole team, and when someone makes a mistake, we all have to correct it together. And during the penalty shootout we managed to prove it.
— You had to save the team during the regular time. Did the game become harder than expected?
— No. The opponents raced in dangerous counterattacks, but we were waiting for them. They had a couple of chances, but they didn't get the shots. In the goal episode, the shot turned out to be good, right into the bottom corner.
— There was a lot of excitement around the match in Kaliningrad. Many fans came, and the whole city lived this game. Did this complicate the task?
— It's always nice to play in such an atmosphere. But it was hard to tell the defenders. When the opponent scored a goal, I asked our staff member who was staying behind the goal whether there would be penalties or extra time right away. I shouted, but he didn't hear me. We both shouted for about ten seconds. We didn't understand anything, so I just gave it up, and immersed myself in the game.
— After the round of 16 against Nizhny Novgorod, you wanted to become the man of the next match, because the prize is very nice. And here you got it.
— I didn't set myself such a goal. The goal was to keep clean sheets in all Cup games. Unfortunately, it didn't work, but I got this prize.
— Dynamo reached the semi-finals of the Russian Cup for the first time in ten years. What do you feel now?
— I have no special feelings. This win still does not bring anything, as well as the victory in the semi-finals. This path is very long, and mistakes are not allowed. When we win the trophy, then we'll be happy. And now it's simply nice. We have to prepare for the next challenges.