LONDON: Middlesbrough celebrated a famous penalty shoot-out victory at Old Trafford after Anthony Elanga’s miss saw Manchester United make an embarrassing early exit from the FA Cup.
United interim manager Ralf Rangnick will not be able to prevent the club going on on to a fifth consecutive season without a trophy for the first time in two decades.
The fourth round got off to a stunning start on Friday night as the Premier League giants arguably saw their last realistic hope of silverware this season extinguished by Chris Wilder’s second-tier outfit.
Jadon Sancho opened the scoring for Ralf Rangnick’s star-studded side, but lifelong United fan Matt Crooks levelled and the match finished 1-1 after extra-time.
Every penalty found the net until Elanga struck his into the Stretford End, wrapping up an 8-7 spot-kick success for Boro and sending the 9,500 visiting fans wild.
Few could have seen the match going the distance given the way United started.
Sancho hit the crossbar inside 80 seconds of a one-sided first half in which he would fire the hosts ahead via a slight Isaiah Jones defection shortly after Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty miss.
Boro had looked limited but the hosts’ profligacy hurt them and Duncan Watmore crossed for fellow former United youth player Crooks to score in front of the raucous travelling Teessiders.
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Most inside the stadium expected the goal to be ruled out for Watmore’s handball in the build-up, but it was apparently deemed accidental by both referee and VAR.
Fernandes inexplicably managed to hit a post with the goal at his mercy and the match went to extra-time and then penalties, with Elanga’s missed spot-kick the difference.