Belgian goalkeeper Espeel, 25, dies after saving penalty

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Belgian goalkeeper Arne Espeel died aged 25 after he collapsed on the pitch on Saturday moments after saving a penalty for an amateur team.

Winkel Sport B, who play in the second provincial division of West Brabant in Belgium, were 2-1 up against Westrozebeke when their opponents were awarded a penalty in the second half.

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According to reports in Belgian media, Espeel saved the spot kick but dropped to the ground immediately afterwards. Emergency services rushed to help Espeel and tried to revive him with a defibrillator but he was pronounced dead shortly after he was taken to a hospital.

The game was played at the club’s home ground in Sint-Eloois-Winkel in the West Flanders Province.

“Winkel Sport is in very deep mourning by the sudden death of Arne Espeel,” the club said in a statement.

“We wish family and friends of Arne our heartfelt condolences in this heavy loss. Football is an afterthought.”

An autopsy was scheduled to have taken place on Monday to determine the cause of Espeel’s death.

A report in the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper said more than 1,000 people turned up to pay tribute to Espeel on Monday evening.

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