LONDON (Reuters) - Northern Ireland goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell would relish another penalty shoot-out in Euro 2020 playoff against Slovakia at Windsor Park on Thursday after showing his prowess against Bosnia Herzegovina last month.
The 24-year-old Burnley reserve keeper saved a penalty from Bosnia’s Haris Hajradinovic to help his side prevail on penalties and set up a clash with Slovakia.
Bosnia’s Barcelona star Miralem Pjanic got so irritated by Peacock-Farrell’s attempt to get into his head that he kicked the ball back at him after netting his spot kick and complained to the referee.
But Peacock-Farrell said he will not change his approach if Thursday’s tie goes the distance.
“I was really surprised with Pjanic’s reaction,” Peacock-Farrell told BelfastLive. “There wasn’t too much said with that one, but I was making myself a bit of a nuisance.
“There are always some mind games and I quite enjoy that. As a goalkeeper I try to put as much pressure on the taker as possible, try and fill the goal, maybe have a conversation with him, play some mind games.”
He said he will have plenty of data on Slovakia’s takers if the game does go to a penalty shootout thanks to goalkeeper coach Steve Harper and assistant coach Austin MacPhee.
“Thankfully, I don’t have to do the mad amount of hours they have since the Bosnia game,” he said.
“They’ll collect and compress all the data into an hour’s video here, an hour’s video there and it’ll be drip fed to me before Thursday.”
Northern Ireland enter the game not in the best form and are seven games without a win, other than on penalties against Bosnia after drawing 1-1.
Since then they have lost to Austria and Norway in the Nations League but Ian Baraclough’s side are now just one match away from reaching next year’s finals, having also qualified for the Euro 2016 tournament in France, their first major tournament final for 34 years.
“We are obviously aware of how hard it is going to be, the difficulty of the game, and obviously the emotional aspect of it is getting to the Euros so the stakes are high,” Peacock-Farrell said. “But it’s just a game of football and we are at home which is a massive advantage for us.”
The Irish FA have confirmed that around 1,000 fans will be allowed to attend the fixture.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Philippa Fletcher
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