By Chris Harris

Manuel Almunia admits he was running on empty by the time Arsenal's epic Champions League tie with Roma reached its late-night conclusion.

The Spanish goalkeeper made a vital stop from Mirko Vucinic to cancel out Eduardo's opening spot-kick miss in the penalty shoot-out at the Stadio Olimpico. Almunia could not repeat the trick but did not need to as Max Tonetto fired over the crossbar to seal a 7-6 sudden-death win for the Gunners.

Almunia kicked off the celebrations a split-second later and reflected on a hard night's work when he spoke to reporters after the game.

"My heart was nearly out," admitted the keeper.

"I'm sorry I couldn't have saved more than one. In the end it was enough and I am so happy to go through to the next round.

"Roma took some good penalties. It was difficult to save them as they have so much quality.

"I'm just so happy for my team-mates because they kept their nerve and showed their maturity in the penalty shoot-out. I'm proud."

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12 Mar 2009