Middlesbrough stunned Manchester United with an 8-7 penalty shootout victory to advance from the FA Cup fourth round at Old Trafford on Friday night, after 120 minutes of normal and extra time finished in a 1-1 tie.
When Paul Pogba was taken down in the area just before the 20-minute mark, the hosts had a perfect opportunity to open the scoring, but Cristiano Ronaldo blazed his spot shot wide and the score stayed tied.
Soon after, Jadon Sancho made apologies, blasting a shot past Middlesbrough’s Joe Lumley from a tight angle after settling a long ball over the top of the defence to give Ralf Rangnick’s team a half-time lead.
Middlesbrough equalised in the 64th minute when Matt Crooks snuck in at the far post and diverted a looping pass from Duncan Watmore into the back of the Man United net, tying the game at one.
Watmore looked to have hold of the ball with his hand before sending up Crooks, but the referee did not sound his whistle, and VAR spotted no obvious fault, therefore the goal remained.
“I’m quite upset; we should have won and killed the game in the first half”, Rangnick stated after the game. “A crossbar, a post, a missed penalty, and a slew of chances”. The score should have been 2-0 or 3-0.
“We gave up a goal that I don’t see how it stood. He held it in place with his hand. When they scored, it was obvious that VAR would not allow this goal to stand. We were not in a good position at the time, being too exposed and allowing them to respond, and we should have won the game”.
Bruno Fernandes hit the post with the goal gaping shortly after Middlesbrough’s equaliser, sending the game into extra time and ultimately a shootout.
Both teams converted their first seven penalty penalties, but after Lee Peltier Boro’s eighth, Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga skied his over the crossbar to give the visitors a memorable FA Cup victory.
“Anthony Elanga, everyone can picture how he is, he is broken and utterly upset”, Rangnick said of the game-winning miss.
It was a crushing setback for United, who will be left wondering how they missed out in the fifth round despite having 30 goal attempts to Boro’s six.
“The FA Cup is alive and well, especially in Middlesbrough”, remarked Boro boss Chris Wilder, whose Sheffield United club won the Premier League at Old Trafford last season. “I explained to the players that it was important about generating memories”.