Another penalty miss cost Manchester United dearly on Saturday but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left baffled as to how his side did not get two more spot-kicks before being stunned 2-1 by Crystal Palace.
Patrick Van Aanholt’s stoppage-time winner gave Palace their first league win at Old Trafford since 1989, with United left to rue Marcus Rashford’s missed penalty, which span across the face of goal after striking the left-hand post just after the hour.
Rashford had replaced Paul Pogba on penalty duties after the France midfielder missed from the spot in Monday’s 1-1 draw at Wolves, but he recorded his first miss from the spot in professional football.
There was still time for Daniel James to score an 88th-minute equaliser, cancelling out Jordan Ayew’s 32nd-minute opener, but Palace would have the final word.
United had plenty of opportunities, taking 22 shots at goal in the match, but Solskjaer could not understand why neither Anthony Martial not Rashford were awarded penalties when they tumbled under the attentions of Martin Kelly in the second half.
“I think we were unlucky with Martial because it was a clear and obvious penalty, nailed on, and I think when the referee sees the game he will know he’s not had his best,” Solskjaer said.
Asked if he was surprised VAR did not intervene, Solskjaer continued: “I am, because it’s a nailed-on penalty. He will not slip if he does not have a 100-kilo defender on his shoulders.”
Solskjaer said VAR was still too subjective, and added that James was unlucky to pick up a second booking for diving in the space of a week.
“I think with VAR they let the referee’s decision be subjective one way or another,” he said. “I think it’s a clear and obvious penalty (for Martial) and I also think it’s a penalty for Marcus when he runs and gets pulled down a little bit.
“And I’m 100 per cent sure of contact between Daniel James and their defender and now he’s on two yellow cards where there’s been contact with him. It’s very unfair, very unlucky. Both yellow cards shouldn’t have stood.”
The non-penalties were not the only decisions to anger United, with Palace debutant Gary Cahill admitting after the game he may well have seen red when he brought down Martial on the edge of the area, with the Frenchman through on goal late in the first half.
But Palace manager Roy Hodgson disagreed, and suggested VAR is in danger of being too clinical in its decision-making.
“I see things from a football point of view, not from a VAR perspective or a journalistic perspective… ‘Was it a foul, a touch? Let’s have look 50 times’,” Hodgson said.
“I thought it was a penalty when Luke (Milivojevic) tackled (Scott) McTominay. I thought straight away it was a penalty. I didn’t need VAR, just as it didn’t look like any other penalties in the game for me from a football perspective.
“Unfortunately today penalties are seen everywhere because we’re looking through everything with a fine toothcomb.
“We’re talking margins and technology has taken away some of the feeling that people like myself and Sir Alex Ferguson might have had in terms of saying there might have been contact but it wasn’t a penalty.”
With the decisions having gone his side’s way, Hodgson could instead celebrate Palace’s first Old Trafford victory in Premier League history.
“When you’ve been working as long as I have there are quite a few nuggets if I bothered to really think about that or write them down and remind myself of it,” the 72-year-old said.
“I will certainly remind myself about this one but my thoughts will turn very quickly to Colchester (in the Carabao Cup) because it’s never going to be an easy game.”
Kick It Out has called for “decisive action” after Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford was subjected to racist abuse on social media moments after missing a penalty against Crystal Palace.
The past week has seen Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham, United midfielder Paul Pogba and Reading’s Yakou Meite all racially abused on Twitter after failing to score from the spot.
In the build-up to the latest set of domestic games, Premier League managers put the focus on social media companies to police abuse dished out to players online.
With a little over 20 minutes to go of United’s Premier League game against Palace, and with the home side trailing 1-0, Rashford saw his penalty cannon off the left post and across the face of goal.
Following the miss, the England international received numerous abusive posts on social media.
Anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out were quick to condemn the latest incidents.
The vile racist abuse on social media continued today.— Kick It Out (@kickitout) August 24, 2019
This problem will not go away and needs decisive action - that’s what we‘ll be making clear to @Twitter when we meet. #KickItOut https://t.co/YadDZ7uXRB
“The vile racist abuse on social media continued today. This problem will not go away and needs decisive action – that’s what we’ll be making clear to Twitter when we meet,” a statement read.
Representatives of Twitter are also planning to meet with officials at United to discuss the racial abuse aimed at Pogba following his penalty miss against Wolves on Monday night.
Twitter have been contacted for comment by the PA news agency following Saturday’s latest incident.
Following the match, which saw Palace win 2-1 following a stoppage-time goal from defender Patrick Van Aanholt, Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hit out at the abuse directed towards Rashford.
“It’s the same we spoke about before the weekend. It’s unheard of and we need it to stop, it needs to stop,” Solskjaer said at the post-match press conference.
“I’m just lost for words if it keeps going. We keep having all these campaigns ‘No to Racism’ and it keeps hiding behind fake identities. It’s just crazy that we talk about this in 2019.”
Manchester United put in a thoroughly wretched performance as they lost to Crystal Palace for the first time in the Premier League era, going down 2-1 to Patrick van Aanholt’s stoppage time winner.
United dominated the early exchanges but offered precious little end product, and were punished for it when Palace took a surprise lead, scoring for the first time this season when Jordan Ayew ran on to Jeffrey Schlupp’s header and finished with supreme calm past David De Gea.
Frustrated for much of the afternoon, United had the chance to level just after the hour mark but Marcus Rashford saw his ferocious penalty thump off the inside of the post after Scott McTominay was tripped by Luka Milivojevic.
The Stretford End was cheering though when Daniel James curled in a delicious equaliser late on. And they were baying for a winner when Van Aanholt’s innocuous effort somehow slipped under De Gea for a famous win.
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1)
David De Gea 5: Did little apart from pick the ball out of his net for Palace’s goal…until old issues reared their ugly head when he allowed Van Aanholt’s hopeful swipe to slip through his grasp.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka 5: Caught napping for the opener as he allowed Jordan Ayew to ghost in on goal. Struggled to shackle Wilfried Zaha and offered little in attack. His first poor outing in a red shirt.
Victor Lindelof 5: Easily outjumped by Schlupp for Palace’s opener. Otherwise won four aerial duels. Had little to deal with as Palace attacked infrequently.
Harry Maguire 6: Sent Rashford away with a defence-splitting through ball after expert interception. Commanding in the air, deployed as auxiliary left winger in second half as United pressed.
Luke Shaw 6: Started brightly with one lung-busting run. But niggling doubts resurfaced when he went off with a hamstring pull soon after.
Paul Pogba 5: Like Rashford, the talismanic midfielder endured a frustrating afternoon. Better after the break but little he tried came off. Dispossessed a team high four times and 80.5 per cent pass accuracy was woeful.
Scott McTominay 6: Ponderous once or twice. Boundless energy and diligence allows others – especially Pogba – to flourish. Took on a more attacking role after half-time and won the penalty.
Daniel James 7: Had United’s best first half chance but walloped his shot into Van Aahnholt. Shown another yellow card for diving. Again a poor decision. Persevered and pulled United level with a sumptuous curler into the top corner.
Jesse Lingard 5: Lack of creativity a problem in No10 role, although his hard running backwards (second most United tackles with two) and forwards, plus 88.2 pass accuracy (fourth best among United starters), won’t matter to the boo boys.
Marcus Rashford 3: United’s most potent player, the problem was nothing came off for the young forward. Nothing. Passing was poor and day summed up by smashing penalty off the post.
Anthony Martial 5: Intricate movement posed plenty of problems for Palace, Gary Cahill was lucky to remain on the field. But lack of end product showed he still needs to improve.
Ashley Young 7: Solid after replacing the seemingly paper-limbed Shaw. One nice flick over former United winger Zaha got him out of trouble. Telling he led team with five key passes.
Mason Greenwood 6: Ineffectual despite being given a good chunk of time. To be expected at only 17.
Juan Mata N/A: Thrown on as a last roll of the dice, a calm head if nothing else.