Rafael Cabral’s “special powers” came to the fore, according to manager Jose Gomes, after the goalkeeper inspired Reading to a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Wycombe in the Carabao Cup.
Cabral saved from both Nick Freeman and Fred Onyedinma as Reading bagged a second-round tie with Plymouth following the 1-1 draw at Adams Park.
Alex Samuel threatened a shock for the League One side before George Puscas levelled with his first goal in English football.
“We practised penalties in two moments during the week,” said Gomes. “To tell you the truth I was really confident in Rafael because he guessed during the training the side the players kicked all the time. I don’t know if he has a special power.
“It was a good game, we go on in the cup but now we must look ahead to facing Cardiff on Sunday.
“I now have very good problems for Sunday. I have options, we have a long season ahead of us and I have decisions to take. It is a very good thing.
“Penalties are not really football. It is emotion and drama. It was a nice moment with all our fans with Rafael saving penalties.”
Wycombe went ahead after 59 minutes as Samuel headed in from Josh Parker’s corner but the lead lasted just five minutes as John Swift set up Puscas.
Both sides had chances late on but none proved decisive, leaving Rafael – signed from Sampdoria just a week ago – to become the hero.
“I’m really proud of the players. We hit the bar in the last moment and the way they celebrated is a big compliment to Wycombe,” explained Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth.
“My boys did not stop running or working, we were very fluid. To lose on penalties is tough but if we played like that in League One we will cause plenty of problems.
“This is the best squad I’ve had at Wycombe Wanderers. We’ve been backed and it seems to be something special at the moment.
“I live near Reading and can hold my head up high. My son can go to school with Reading fans and wear his Wycombe shirt.”
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