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Marcus Rashford sends message to “shattered” Anthony Elanga after Man Utd penalty miss


Manchester United crashed out of the FA Cup at the hands of Championship Middlesbrough, with Anthony Elanga the odd one in 16, missing the decisive penalty in a thrilling shootout

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In pictures: Man Utd v Middlesbrough

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Marcus Rashford was quick to send a message of support to Anthony Elanga after his penalty miss saw Manchester United crash out of the FA Cup to Middlesbrough.

United got off to an impressive start against the Championship side and could have taken the lead within two minutes, when Jadon Sancho’s audacious chip came off the bar.

They were then given a golden opportunity to open the scoring when Paul Pogba was fouled in the area, only for Cristiano Ronaldo to fire his penalty wide.

The Old Trafford faithful didn’t have to wait long for a goal however, with Sancho scoring his third of the season following a pass from Bruno Fernandes.

United should have put the game out of sight before the half-time whistle, but were made to rue their profligacy when ex-Red Devils youngster Matt Crooks turned home a controversial equaliser.

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Join the debate! Should Luke Shaw have taken a penalty before Elanga? Let us know in the comments

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 04: Anthony Elanga of Manchester United reacts after missing a penalty during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on February 04, 2022 in Manchester, England. (Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Duncan Watmore clearly handled the ball in the build-up, but as he wasn’t the goalscorer, VAR was unable to disallow it due to an accidental handball.

After 90 minutes, the two sides couldn’t be separated and Boro arguably had the better of extra time, before both sides settled for the dreaded penalty shootout.

And after 14 penalties, the game was still deadlocked, before Lee Peltier smashed his penalty into the roof of the net, putting all of the pressure on Elanga.

The 19-year-old has been in excellent form in recent weeks, having been drafted into the starting XI by interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

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But with the Stretford End looking on, the Swede smashed his penalty into the supporters, sparking wild scenes off celebrations in the visiting end of the stadium.

A disconsolate Elanga was quickly comforted by several players – and Rangnick – on the pitch, before Ronaldo, who scored in the shootout, put an arm around his shoulder, leading him down the tunnel.

David de Gea was given a night off, with Dean Henderson preferred, and the Spaniard quickly took to social media putting the youngster’s name in capitals with a love heart emoji.

Rashford tol Elanga to keep his head up following the miss
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Image:

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Sky Sports)

Rashford then posted: “Anthony Elanga. Get that head of yours up immediately.”

The United striker knows a thing or two about bouncing back from penalty disappointment, having missed a spot-kick during England’s agonising Euro 2020 defeat to Wembley last summer.

Speaking after the crushing defeat, Rangnick admitted the winger was devastated, but insisted now was the time to rally around Elanga.

Ralf Rangnick claimed Middlesbrough’s goal should have been disallowed

“Anthony Elanga, anyone can imagine how he is, he is shattered and absolutely disappointed,” the German told ITV Sport. “It was the eighth penalty which had all converted.

“We will try to encourage him again, be there for him and it can happen to more experienced players.

“We could not have had more players to take it, there was Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and the goalkeeper.”

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Rangnick also addressed Boro’s contentious second-half goal, claiming that it should have been chalked off.

He added: How can it be accidental if he controls the ball up in the air with his hand? It was clear it should not stand but in the end I was really surprised it stood.”

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