His goalkeeper coach showed him the aces, and Sydney FC hero Danny Vukovic revealed them at exactly the right moments in the A-League Grand Final.
Vukovic was on the money with a low save to stop Marco Rojas' penalty and set Milos Ninkovic up for the winning spot kick against Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
As has been the key to Sydney's indestructible season, the stroke of genius was in teamwork -- on this occasion in tandem with goalkeeping mentor John Crawley.
"With the penalties, John Crawley, my goalkeeper coach studied all their penalty takers so he knew where they all went with their last penalties," Vukovic said.
"That's usually a good indicator of where they're going to go again.
"There were a couple he didn't know -- Leigh Broxham and Carl Valeri -- but the others he pointed out and he was right.
"I knew after saving [Rojas' penalty] that we were one kick away, so I was just praying Ninko would hit the back of the net.
"His last penalty was against Wollongong in the FFA Cup and he missed so I was a little bit on edge, but with the season he's had I was pretty certain he was going to."
When Ninkovic did, the pain of Vukovic's three previous Grand Final losses with Central Coast and Perth Glory dissolved.
It's been a long wait for the 32-year-old, who admitted he may not have handled a fourth heartbreak in 11 years.
And while the win was apt reward for a career-best season that's earned him a Socceroos recall and plaudit as A-League coach of the year, there was even more to celebrate off the field.
In the crowd was Vukovic's wife and baby son Harley, who recently had a successful life-saving liver transplant.
- Elia Santoro (@Elia_Santoro) May 7, 2017
It was the reason he moved from Melbourne Victory in the off-season, as the family sought medical treatment and family support in Sydney.
The added bonus was joining a winning team full of old teammates and his first senior goalkeeping coach in Crawley.
"Things have fallen into place very nicely for me and my family," Vukovic said.
"My son has come through a difficult period and is out the other side. He's on the road to recovery.
"That for me has been the main focus in the last 12 months and football has been brilliant as well."