This past weekend, Reading’s goalie, Adam Federici, by all accounts, kept his side in the semifinal FA Cup game against Arsenal with save after save. Goalies have a way of single-handily changing a game in this way. I did not like Reading, to be honest. Their approach to Arsenal was to bully and foul — what we have grown accustomed to as teams’ general tactic against Arsenal. But Federici’s display was unaffected by this borderline thuggery. He was stellar and outstanding. Except for that final moment. When he wasn’t. When a ball dribbled slowly off his body and slower still across the magic line. Painfully slow but not slow enough for him to reign it back in. Like a missed two-foot put during a golf tournament’s playoff final hole, we wish that on no one. And we just do not want to win that way.
The marvelous images below capture all of those marvelous emotions that come in a moment like that. Federici’s inconsolable dejection. Teammates’ comparable deflation and misery. Subsequent real attempts at consolation. From mates, managers and, yes, the opposing goalie. But in the end . . . all alone.