Krul sealed status as Player of the Season favourite with heroics at Spurs
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Tim Krul may have delivered the penalty saving heroics but the Norwich City number one’s excellent display ahead of the shoot-out success at Spurs should not be forgotten.
The pace of Lucas Moura left the Canaries defence scrambling in just the 11th minute but Krul spread himself well to parry Giovanni Lo Celso's low shot with an out-stretched leg.
He had little chance with Jan Vertonghen's powerful close-range header two minutes later, towering above Mario Vrancic and Jamal Lewis as City's zonal marking system failed when Lo Celso whipped a fine free-kick to the back post from the left wing.
Just before the break he bailed out Vrancic's poor control of an unwise Tom Trybull pass inside his own penalty box, reading Moura's interception and spreading himself to parry the Brazilian's shot behind.
Thankfully his out-field team-mates got a grip of the game and were largely in the ascendancy, deservedly equalising through Josip Drmic in the 78th minute, but that sparked a late surge from the hosts.
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Ben Godfrey's goal-line clearance left the Dutchman relieved after Serge Aurier's shot had flown past him and he had to time a punch perfectly in the 90th minute after Dele Alli had burst into the box, just beating the England international to the ball and charging out of his box to clear.
Extra-time brought more danger, holding an Aurier shot at his near post after four minutes and standing up strong to save with his feet as Lo Celso charged through five minutes into the second half.
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Then it was on to his well practised penalty mischief, delaying and distracting each taker as much as possible, nearly saving Eric Dier's shoot-out opener before guessing correctly to deny both Troy Parrott and Gedson Fernandes in a 3-2 win to spark wild celebrations.
VERDICT: Odds-on favourite to be named Player of the Season, thanks to really consistent form. Leadership from the back is also so crucial and the 31-year-old's form looks sure to earn a return to the Holland squad later this month.
RATING: 9 out of 10