Middlesbrough fans went wild after Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga fired his last shot high over the goal bar at Old Trafford on Feb. 4, causing Manchester to blunder the FA Cup at home for the price of a penalty kick, or of sundry other mistakes.
It was almost an unbelievable experience for fans of both sides as a penalty shootout was matched shot for shot until Elanga’s final miss. The nineteen-year old was consoled by teammates in the tunnel.
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Missed chances were on the thoughts of many as the close score made it evident that every lost opportunity could have made a difference for Manchester in Friday’s fourth round match.
Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo also missed a penalty, and there was more.
Sky News reported that Manchester “wasted a string of other chances” in a game that lasted 120 minutes. Sky also reported that circumstances remained controversial regarding Matt Crooks’ cancellation of Jadon Sancho’s opener.
While Manchester interim manager Ralf Rangnick admitted that after a good start, his club later didn’t defend well, he insisted that the equalizing score should have been disqualified, due to handling before the shot.
“In the end, the goal should never have been given. It’s incredible that it stood. It was a clear handball,” Rangnick stated.
The Guardian reported that this strike, which Crooks delivered in the 64th minute, did indeed occur “courtesy of a Duncan Watmore handball ruled accidental and thus legal.” The goal was left standing, equaling out Sancho’s effort, which had been sunk in at the far post after he caught a deflection and shot with his left foot, early in the contest.
Manchester’s defeat scraps hopes for a 13th FA Cup – for now. Meanwhile, underdog Middlesbrough celebrates victory over Manchester United for the first time since 2005, in an away game won before a packed and cheering crowd of supporters.