Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was ‘terrified’ after leaving his team’s Europa League quarter-final first leg against Sporting CP with chest pain.
The Poland international left the field in tears before the end of the first half and Mattia Perin was introduced in his place to play the remainder of the 1-0 victory at the Allianz Stadium.
Szczesny was examined by a medical team and things were clear soon after the second half resumed, although he admitted he was concerned about the sequence of events.
“I’m fine, I was a little worried, but we did all the tests and everything is fine,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“I was scared, this had never happened to me before, I was struggling to breathe, and it bothered me a lot.”
Perin’s heroism in stoppage time with a double save that stripped Pote and Hector Bellerin ensured victory for Juventus and Szczesny returned to form, joking about the situation and praising his teammate.
After initial check, Tek is doing well. pic.twitter.com/rKbzJLQ2zC
— Juventus (@juventusfcen) April 13, 2023
“The truth is that I saw Mattia in great shape in training, I felt tired and knew that in the 94th minute he would have a great double save,” he added.
“No, they shot right at him! I congratulated him, he is also a guy with a heart of gold, we get along well. It’s a pity that Carlo (Pinsoglio) didn’t take the field, today he would have had a hat-trick and great saves.”
Speaking shortly afterward, Perin hailed the team’s performance and made it clear that there was still a lot of work to be done.
“I think the team as a whole was exceptional to not fall into a victim mentality or a false alibi, instead we took that negative energy and made it positive, proving that we are real men,” he said.
“There is only half in the quarter-finals, there are still 90 minutes left, and we can rejoice in this victory, but this is only half.”