Manchester United 1-1 Middlesbrough (aet, 7-8 pens): Boro benefit from controversy before dumping out Red Devils

By Sports Desk February 04, 2022

Manchester United exited the FA Cup on penalties after a contentious 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough in the fourth round at Old Trafford.

Anthony Elanga blazed over to send Boro through 8-7 following United's seventh spot-kick defeat in eight contests, although they would no doubt argue the tie should not have advanced to that stage.

Ralf Rangnick might point to generous officiating from Anthony Taylor that did not punish Duncan Watmore's handball in the build-up to Matt Crooks' second-half equaliser for Boro.

But United's inability to add to a lead secured by Jadon Sancho was equally damaging, their 30 shots worth a combined 4.32 expected goals – an early Cristiano Ronaldo penalty among the misses as the Red Devils crashed out.

By the time Sancho made the most of Boro's latest piece of haphazard defending to break the deadlock with a deflected shot across Joe Lumley, United could have been two or three up.

Sancho clipped a delicate attempt onto the crossbar after Lumley spilled a long ball, then Anfernee Dijksteel clumsily brought down Paul Pogba in the box, only for Ronaldo to drag his spot-kick wide. Bruno Fernandes volleyed wildly over when played onside, too.

Chances continued to come and go after the 25th-minute opener, with Marcus Rashford letting Boro off the hook again early in the second half.

And that profligacy came back to bite United in bizarre circumstances when Watmore blatantly controlled Isaiah Jones' cross with his hand but directed a lob across the face of goal, allowing Crooks to steal in and net a leveller that the VAR did not overturn.

Fernandes pulled a straightforward finish against the foot of the post soon afterwards, failing to prevent an extra time period in which Dean Henderson was required to make a close-range stop from Aaron Connolly to reach the shoot-out.

Each of the first 15 kicks were scored, before Elanga finally failed, stunning the home support.

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    Michael Carrick felt the “true character” of his Middlesbrough players was on display as they came from behind to beat Southampton and claim their first league win of the season.

    Having failed to win in their opening seven league matches, it would have been easy for Boro’s players to have crumbled when Adam Armstrong opened the scoring at the Riverside Stadium.

    Instead, they continued trying to play their football and were rewarded when Riley McGree rifled home an equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

    With Southampton fading, Middlesbrough were the better team for most of the second half and they secured the win that lifted them off the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table when Josh Coburn was pulled down by Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Jonny Howson slotting home from the penalty spot.

    Carrick said: “It’s hugely positive. I just said to them in the dressing room, I was standing on the touchline in the second half thinking, ‘whatever happens here, I couldn’t ask any more of any of the players’.

    “I speak a lot about how strong the group are, but words are words and some people might not believe what I’m saying. But it’s times where you’re tested where you see people’s true characters come out. That’s when you see what people are about and you saw that today.

    “We started well, but we went a goal behind and it wouldn’t have come easy for them to put in the performance and the effort that they did.

    “You could see the togetherness and the spirit, and that’s what made me most proud. The win came and that was brilliant. I was standing there on the touchline in the second half really proud of them anyway. That’s more powerful than a one-off result.”

    Having started the season as one the favourites to win promotion, Boro have underperformed in the first six weeks of the campaign, but Carrick feels his players will emerge stronger because of their struggles.

    He said: “I think that will help us moving forward and we’ll be stronger for the way we’ve all stuck together when it hasn’t quite been going so well.

    “The supporters are included in that – to see the stadium like that at the end, with everyone enjoying it and celebrating, was great. It’s one game, but it’s not so much the one game and the result, it’s the overall feeling and collective support we feel that is the most important thing.”

    Southampton started the season reasonably strongly, but have now suffered four successive defeats, with manager Russell Martin admitting his players are suffering a hangover from last season’s relegation.

    Martin said: “The mentality needs to change. We had the game where we wanted it, but then for some reason, we let the game fall out of our grasp and slip. That’s a mentality problem, it’s not a lack of effort, for sure. The players are working extremely hard, but it’s not a quick fix at the club.

    “It’s been a tough however long it’s been – certainly a tough year or 18 months. There’s a huge hangover from that, probably bigger than we thought. But we’ll continue to give everything we can and build into a better team and a better club.

    “We want to give the fans a team to be proud of, but at the minute, we’re going through a really tough moment. We need the supporters more than ever, but we understand their frustration. We have to keep working, it’s as simple as that.”

  • Ruel Sotiriou helps Leyton Orient to narrow victory over Shrewsbury Ruel Sotiriou helps Leyton Orient to narrow victory over Shrewsbury

    Leyton Orient recorded a hard-fought home victory over Shrewsbury with a solitary goal from Ruel Sotiriou separating the two sides.

    There was a lively and positive start to the game with five corners within the opening eight minutes, the first in favour of the visitors within 16 seconds of the start.

    The Shrews squandered a golden opportunity after four minutes when Max Mata was sent clear but saw his shot blocked by the outstretched foot of O’s goalkeeper Sol Brynn.

    But O’s striker Sotiriou showed the way after 20 minutes when he slammed a shot into the roof of the net for his fourth goal of the season after Idris El Mizouni fashioned the opportunity.

    The second period lacked quality with the visitors, who had not scored in their previous four league matches, showing their profligacy in front of goal with Brynn denying Ryan Bowman and Tom Flanagan.

    At the opposite end, Sotiriou and Ethan Galbraith missed good opportunities to put the issue beyond all doubt for the hosts.

  • Barbados, Bermuda register wins in League B Barbados, Bermuda register wins in League B

    The Road to the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup continued with two League B encounters on Friday. Bermuda and Barbados started the tournament with three-point performances at home.

    Barbados takes the top of Group C on goal difference given their larger margin of victory, while Bermuda starts in position to challenge for first place. The Dominican Republic and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will look to avenge their defeats with a home match next week.

    Bermuda vs Dominican Republic

    Bermuda opened their campaign with a 2-0 home win over the Dominican Republic at the National Sports Centre in Devonshire Parish, Bermuda.

    Jaden Masters opened the scoring in the 10th with a rocket from long range to send the home fans into ecstasy. This came just seconds after the Lady Warriors were close to taking the lead on an attempt from Eva Frazzoni going just wide.

    Winibian Peralta attempted to equalize in the 20th from a free kick but the attempt was caught by goalkeeper Zakhari Turner.

    Lucia Marte provided a dangerous hit across goal in the 32th as the Dominican Republic continued to search for the tying goal.

    Masters earned her brace in the 45+1 on a Bermuda fast break, slipping the ball past goalkeeper Odaliana Gomez just outside the edge of the box.

    Masters nearly completed her hat-trick in the 55th but Gomez made a big stop to keep the score within reach. 

    Turner ended the day with seven saves as she collected her first clean sheet of the tournament and Bermuda its first three points.

    Barbados vs Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

    Barbados won 5-0 over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to start its campaign at the Wildey Turf Stadium in Bridgetown, Barbados.

    Shanice Stevenson opened the scoring in the 10th from a free kick chance. Goalkeeper Altica Benn tried to stop the attempt but the potent was too much to contain.

    Rianna Cyrus extended the lead in the 19th with some nifty footwork inside the box to convert on a delivery from Shauntae Hinds.

    Cyrus extended the lead again in the 22th by evading the keeper and hitting a precise ball outside the right side of the goal area. Stevenson provided the through ball into the box.

    Prior to the halftime whistle, at 45+2, Cyrus completed her hat-trick off a free kick service from Stevenson.

    Cheyanna Burnett-Griffith scored a fifth for Barbados in the 75th with a strike off the bouncing ball. Keinelle Johnson provided the cross from the left flank to find Burnett-Griffith inside the area.

    The defense provided a strong outing in its home opener by holding Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to zero shots on target. Kamilla Burke made an important save outside the box during the closing minutes to preserve the clean sheet.


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