‘Our character won the game’
Gary Richards hailed Swansea City Under-23s’ fight after their dramatic 9-8 penalty victory over Brighton booked a place in the semi-finals of the Premier League Cup.
Daniel James’ second-half equaliser cancelled out Viktor Gyokerers’ opener before Swans keeper Steven Benda performed heroics in the final minutes of extra time to deny George Cox from the penalty spot after Cian Harries had handled in the box.
The young Swans rallied to fire home all nine of their penalties in the shootout, with Benda once again pulling off a dramatic save to deny Ben Barclay and keep alive the under-23s’ hope of retaining the cup.
“You can see from our reaction to the win how much we want to retain this title,” Richards said.
“We came off at half-time really disappointed with our performance. We only created a couple of chances first half and were nowhere near the levels we usually are.
“We assessed things at half-time and looked to inject some fight back into the game.
“Our character showed and that is what won us the game. We showed loads of character all over the pitch.
“We dominated large spells of the second half but could not find the back of the net. But we kept going.
“We had to stay mentally focused, but the opportunities we created, the defending, the penalty save - that all shows the character we have in this team.
“The game was a good learning curve. Now we need to apply it in the semi-final.”