United stopper Joel Pereira the penalty hero for loan club Hearts

While Manchester United were sheepishly celebrating a penalty shoot-out victory against Rochdale, talented goalkeeping prospect Joel Pereira was also having penalty success.

The Portuguese shot-stopper was once described by Jose Mourinho as “the best Portuguese goalkeeper of the next generation” (via MEN).

Pereira sent loan club Hearts of Midlothian through to the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup. A penalty save on Wednesday night was crucial in their victory against Aberdeen.

Joel Pereira with penalty stop vs Aberdeen

Aberdeen had brought on Bruce Anderson in extra-time, specifically to take a penalty in the shoot-out. When Anderson stepped up to take the Dons’ first penalty, Joel Pereira pushed his strike away well to give Hearts the advantage. They went on to win 3-0 in the shoot-out after a 2-2 draw in normal time.

The 23-year-old posted a video of his save after the game. His Instagram caption read “👊🏼💥🇱🇻 Onto the next round ☑️ @heartofmidlothianfc.” He also tagged United in the post.

Pereira’s no stranger to penalty heroics. Back on United’s 2018 pre-season tour, he kept AC Milan out. It was a dramatic finale to an International Champions Cup fixture as United won 9-8 in a shoot-out.

Pereira has history in penalty shoot-outs

“I always stay after training doing finishing with the boys,” Pereira told MUTV after that game. “I like to do some bets with them on penalties – a shirt or a dinner or something – so we practise a lot and today worked pretty well for me.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images

“As a goalkeeper, when it’s a penalty shootout, it depends on you. Obviously, your players have to score but if you make a save and do well, it’s a double celebration.”

Pereira is finally getting regular game time at Hearts. He had two bad loans in one season, in Portugal and then Belgium, and it’s important this year is a good one. Injury in early September forced him back to United for treatment.

After returning, the penalty save is one step towards making an impression in Scotland.

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Life-long Manchester United fan with a strong interest in the club's academy. Host of the Manchester United Weekly Podcast and United Through Time. First game at Old Trafford was the 7-1 rout of AS Roma in 2007.