ANTHONY ELANGA was the villain in the penalty kick when Championship Middlesbrough thrashed Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup in a dramatic fashion.
The teenager missed his 16th penalty shootout after an incidental 1-1 draw after extra time.
It was a tug-of-war Cup match from the start between two strong sides.
ONE Manchester United found its feet again under Ralf Rangnick.
A Middlesbrough side revived under Chris Wilder, who has won eight of 12 games since taking charge in November.
But if you think Boro will sacrifice this with larger fish to fry as part of their new promotion, forget it.
Wilder hates the eight-month break following his own emotional departure from Sheffield United.
It was on nights like these that he returned.
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There was a new heart and optimism in hoarding Boro and their team that made them proud.
9,443 visitors to this game sold out in an hour, and they saw their faction go at full speed.
Paul Pogba has received a warm welcome away from playing since November 2 when captain Johnny Howson clashed with him early on.
No one blinked as Matt Crooks and Scott McTominay competed for free balls.
However, on occasions like these, Sir Alex Ferguson always says that if you can match your opponent for commitment then that will be even better.
So it was like United were dominant at least in the first half but they missed opportunity after opportunity.
They were able to take the lead after just two minutes when goalkeeper Joe Lumley hit the ball just inside the box.
Ronaldo picked it up, he was always there to find every little piece and pass it on briefly to Sancho.
His save looked perfect as he got past Boro, who was falling behind but bounced off the crossbar and Bruno Fernandes saved it.
Ronaldo came close to scoring one of his particularly spectacular points when he tried to land an overhead kick but Lumley was in a good position and this time kept it.
Fernandes showed off his performance in the first half and even had an outrageous rant to Ronaldo about where to go when a pass is wasted.
Can he ask him if he can go back to penalty execution duty after 19 years oldorder– a little ma’am.
A clever turn from Pogba forced Anfernee Dijksteel to touch his arm prompting Anthony Taylor to point the finger in the right spot.
Ronaldo stepped up, launched a ball aimed at the bottom left corner but it curled up in its last few yards.
The home team will not have to wait for the opponent’s net.
Pogba’s good interception created conditions for Fernandes to pass to Sancho.
He still has work to do as Diksteel tries to block a corner of goal.
But Sancho had magic in those feet and slid to the side before slamming a shot into the far bottom corner with the help of a Boro header that was deflected.
Continuity and running, United have done so much more.
Ronaldo was desperate to make up for his earlier miss and at a quick pace he went and fired on goal.
Marcus Rashford found the net but was ruled out for offside.
Fernandes passed Ronaldo to shoot directly at the goalkeeper.
Behind-the-scenes embarrassment when United’s catering staff were unable to feed the fans as they announced shortly before halftime that Due to technical error, we can’t sell food and drink during the break.
This prompted chants of ‘We want Glazer out of the house’.
That unexpected change did not improve as United continued to miss more opportunities in the second half and let Boro equalize.
Rashford has restored his scoring prowess with goals after coming off the bench in each of United’s previous games.
He lost them last night, one of which was a golden opportunity early in the second half.
Shaw made some noise and put the ball down the left flank for Sancho, who brilliantly saved his man before slamming across the box for Rashford but he shot from over eight yards.
With a goal still behind, Boro had a chance and they came close to winning one in just a brief hour.
Jones broke through from the right and cut the ball back to Crooks, Dean Henderson’s shot near the goal was deflected by Dean Henderson’s outstretched palm.
There was another palm in play, this time when they got the equalizer.
Watmore had just entered the field when he was found in the area by a pass from Jones.
I tried to control it with the instep but the ball bounced off his feet and touched his hand before he shot it over the goal for Crooks to take home..
The Boro players celebrated like their fans but surely VAR will rule this out.
There was no intention and he was not the one who scored but the one who let the ball touch lead to the goal. It is still standing.
Watmore and Crooks, two former United students celebrate at Old Trafford.
The visitors were flying and when Watmore set up Sparar at close range, Henderson had to be sharp to deny him.
Then United squandered a great opportunity to decide the encounter in the 72nd minute.
Goalkeeper Lumley unleashes a pass for Howson but Fernandes catches him, has a chance to aim and…. The ball goes off the post.
In stoppage time, the Elanga academy graduate could have headed for the right reasons, but the keeper headed for free instead.
So it was more time.
But neither side could find the crucial breakthrough – Aaron Connolly’s shot was saved by Henderson while McTominay’s header was overturned before the penalty shootout draw.
The first 15 all found the back of the net, getting better and better as the pressure increased.
But after Lee Peltier headed home to put Boro ahead 8-7, Elanga bounced his effort into the Stretford End and his side fell out.
More to follow…
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4617692/man-utd-middlesbrough-fa-cup-ronaldo-var-penalties/ Red Devils knocked out of FA Cup after VAR controversy and Ronaldo missed penalty