• Mat Ryan saves Jeremy Perbet's penalty (Getty Images)
Australia's Mat Ryan admits there is no secret for saving penalties and he relies on instinct after he stopped a spot kick for Genk in their UEFA Europa League clash with Gent.
14 Mar 2017 - 6:53 AM  UPDATED 14 Mar 2017 - 6:53 AM

The Socceroos goalkeeper is on loan from Valencia to Genk till the end of the season and proved his worth with a key save in the all-Belgian clash in Ghent which his team won 5-2. 

Ryan had grown frustrated at the lack of game time at the Mestalla but he is back to his best after returning to Belgium which must seem like a second home to the shot stopper. 

“I would have liked to have saved more penalties in my career so far,” Ryan said while preparing for the return leg against Gent on Friday (AEDT) and the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and United Arab Emirates this month. 

“It was nice to make the save the other night at a crucial moment but there is no secret really for saving penalties. 

“I usually have a little look at the opposition’s penalties before the match to see if I can learn a thing or two but then, knowing that they know we are looking also, it's just about getting a bit of a feeling in the moment and hoping you have the composure and technique and have taken the right decision to make the save.” 

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Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan saved a penalty as his Genk side stunned Gent with an incredible 5-2 away win in an action-packed first leg of their all-Belgian UEFA Europa League last-16 clash to move within touching distance of the competition's quarter-finals.

Ryan, who is only 24, made a name for himself when he helped Central Coast Mariners land the A-League championship in 2013.  

After completing two stellar seasons with FC Brugge he moved to Valencia in 2015 on a six-year deal but his progress in Spain was stymied by injuries and the form of Brazilian goalkeeper Diego Alves. 

Belgium’s Jupiler League has given him a spring in his step and restored his confidence. 

“Yeah, being a footballer, it is great being back on the pitch and doing what I love,” he said. 

“Belgium does have a special place in my heart from my time being here. At Valencia I would not say I was nervous about not playing often enough but frustrated yes. 

“I've felt the Genk team has been growing every week and we really have some momentum going right now.  

“But we have to continue that with a strong performance on Thursday and hopefully we move into the next round. 

“I don't have a preference of who to play, I just want to go as far as we can and try create a nice memory or two along the way.” 

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Ryan’s renewed peace of mind must be good news for Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou who views the next World Cup qualifiers in Tehran and Sydney as important stages on the road to Russia. 

Two wins would just about give the Socceroos the ticket for their fourth straight World Cup. 

“I always concentrate on the task in front of me the best I can in every situation,” Ryan said. 

“Right now that’s the home return leg against Gent and then after that the focus will turn to the national team.  

“But it's good to go into the Socceroos camp with some more consistent football under my belt.” 

Iraq have given Australia plenty of headaches over the years and Ryan expects the match in neutral Iran to be no different. 

“I see the Iraq game as crucial in our preparation but it’s just like every game,” he said. 

“We need to implement our aggressive possession type of football to ensure we get the performance we've come to expect of ourselves and by doing that I’m sure we’ll get the result to go with it.”