Cheeky act TV cameras missed tops off Izzo’s all-time Finals masterclass: ‘Well there goes me!’

Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Paul Izzo admits he didn’t think Tony Popovic would let him take a penalty in a possible shootout against Melbourne City after missing one in training earlier in the week.

The 29-year-old was in outstanding form during the 120-minutes and subsequent penalty shootout at AAMI Park as Melbourne Victory saw off fierce rivals Melbourne City to book a spot in the Isuzu UTE A-League Semi-Finals against Wellington Phoenix.

“We had like a session during the week and I shanked one,” laughed Izzo when speaking to Paramount+ after the game. “I was like ‘well there goes me!’

“But then the boss has just looked at me and is like, ‘are you in?’ – I was like yeah!”

Having already denied City’s Tolgay Arslan from the spot in the 19th minute of the contest Izzo then proceeded to produce a goalkeeping masterclass at AAMI Park, keeping the 10-men of Melbourne Victory in the game before Nishan Velupillay eventually bagged their equaliser in the 88th minute.

MATCH REPORT: UNBELIEVABLE! Izzo saves FOUR penalties as Victory defeat City in incredible Elimination Final

Not done there, Izzo then shone in extra time but seemingly saved the best for last as the custodian made THREE penalty saves in the shootout whilst also scoring from the spot himself to secure Victory an incredible win over the rivals.

“Just pretend and fake it ’til you make it I guess. If you look confident then you’re gonna be confident!

Paul Izzo on the secret to saving penalties.

“I don’t really know what to say. It comes from the spirit in the team. Before the game we thought we’ve got this far and it all started all those months ago in preseason and we can’t end now so.

“We just kept going, kept believing and whatever happened, happened, that’s it. I don’t know what to say!”

He added: “Going into half-time we said it’s gonna be a dogfight and there’s been instances this season we’ve gone down to 10 men and we’ve got a result.

“Everyone was sick and tired of the draws, the draws and the draws but that’s what it gets you. It gets you these moments because we stick together and we grind out a result.”

Izzo’s heroics have guided Tony Popovic’s side through to the semi-finals of the Isuzu UTE A-League where they’ll now face second-placed Wellington Phoenix over two legs for a spot in the Grand Final.

“I don’t think there’s an excuse for an empty seat next week. So we’re really excited. We’re so happy that we can continue this run and, you know, particularly against Wellington.

“They’ve gotten one over us a few times this season, so it’s a perfect time to rectify that.”

There were reports that Izzo topped off his masterclass at AAMI Park with a cheeky act, throwing a water bottle containing opposite number Jamie Young’s penalty notes into the crowd during the shoot-out.

“Post-game, Paul Izzo acknowledges that one of Jamie Young’s water bottles may have found its way into the stands,” ESPN journalist Joey Lynch tweeted.

“Aerially. A few notes in a towel may have gone missing as well.”

That revelation came after Code Sports contributor and TV host Adam Peacock wrote: “Told by someone at the ground Izzo actually nicked Jamie Young’s penalty notes run from the City bench? What else did he achieve in that 120 minutes? Fixed the housing crisis?”