Manchester United was eliminated by surprise after falling in the penalty shootout against Middlesbrough (2nd division) 8-7 after a 1-1 draw, this Friday in the match that opened the fourth round of the FA Cup ).
In the decisive round, all the players scored their shots until the failure of the young Swede Anthony Elanga (19 years old), who condemned the ‘Red Devils’ and classified the visitors to the round of 16.
Before reaching that resolution, Jadon Sancho had put United on the scoreboard at Old Trafford in the 25th minute, five minutes after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty.
Middlesbrough, ranked seventh in the Championship (English 2nd division), equalized at 64 through Matt Crooks.
Despite their superiority and having more and better chances, Manchester United could not prevent the match from going into extra time and then to penalties, where fortune was not on their side.
“I am hugely disappointed. We should have won and finished the game already in the first half,” said Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick.
United, fourth in the Premier League, miss out on the chance to save their season with a title in the old and prestigious FA Cup, saying goodbye to the tournament much sooner than they would have expected.
All this also in the midst of a very rarefied climate around the team after the arrest last Sunday of Mason Greenwood on charges of rape, sexual assault and death threats.
In strictly football this Friday, the good news was the return of Frenchman Paul Pogba, absent due to injury since the beginning of November and who was a starter.
Pogba himself got the penalty that Cristiano Ronaldo was later unable to take advantage of, when the score was 0-0.
Bruno Fernandes could have scored Manchester United’s winning goal in the second half, but he crossed too far and sent the ball to the post, on a very clear occasion in 72.
The penalty shootout was once again a nightmare for Manchester United, who before this Friday had lost in six of the last seven they played. A bad omen that was later confirmed, with the elimination.
The night was especially cruel for United and for Elanga, who missed the sixteenth shot of the penalty shootout, sending away the illusions of his team.
In the stands of Old Trafford, 9,000 Middlesbrough fans were able to celebrate this surprise victory and their team’s qualification for the next round.
The rest of the English greats will try not to suffer the same misfortune as United throughout the weekend.
The leader of the English league, Manchester City, faces Fulham, from the second category. Also from the second division will be the opponent of Liverpool, who will host Cardiff City.
Before traveling to Abu Dhabi to play the Club World Cup next week, Chelsea will face Plymouth Argyle in the third division.
The most modest team that competes in these round of 16 is the Kidderminsters Harriers, from the sixth division, who will be the rival of West Ham.
hap / bvo / dr