Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez appeared to dare Cristiano Ronaldo to take a decisive penalty at Old Trafford before he danced in front of Man United supporters after Bruno Fernandes missed the decisive spot-kick.
United had a golden opportunity to rescue a point after another below-par performance saw them trail to a late Kortney Hause header as the game ticked into stoppage time.
The usually infallible Fernandes, though, powered his 93rd-minute penalty deep into the Stretford End to cap a miserable afternoon for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
One man who clearly enjoyed the situation was Villa’s Martinez. As soon as the penalty was awarded against his team, the Argentinian shot-stopper made it clear that he wanted Ronaldo to take the last-minute penalty.
— Arap Bett ™ (@Kayvinbetoz) September 25, 2021
Emiliano Martinez to the Man Utd fans after Bruno Fernandes missed the penalty. This man is a living legend. pic.twitter.com/ooQInzKLJ9
— Football Shithousery (@FootyRustling) September 25, 2021
While players gathered around the penalty spot, Martinez was captured on the broadcast pointing to Ronaldo in an apparent request that the two were to face-off in the game’s most crucial moment.
In the end, it seems that Fernandes’ status as United’s penalty taker hasn’t changed since Ronaldo’s return to the club in late August, and the Portugal star blasted his spot-kick over the bar, essentially confirming his team’s defeat.
Martinez’s trolling wasn’t done there. As soon as the ball flew over his bar, the former Arsenal ‘keeper immediately performed a cheeky dance in front of the Red Devils’ support in celebration of the game’s most decisive moment.
Fernandes, usually so assured from the spot, may well see his role as the club’s penalty taker in doubt – particularly given Ronaldo’s superstar status as a deadball specialist.
However, the five time Ballon d’Or winner has also missed his fair share of penalties throughout his career, coming up short with 28 of his 167 spot-kicks.
Solskjaer, who is facing another wave of dissent from Manchester United’s support following their third defeat in four games, said afterwards that he wasn’t keen on what he saw when Villas players – including Martinez – attempted to put pressure on the penalty taker.
“The way they get around the penalty spot, getting around Bruno and all that – that’s not to my liking but I do understand it. But it shouldn’t be that way,” the Norwegian said after the game.
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Viewers of the Copa America will be no stranger to Martinez’s antics after he saved three penalties in Argentina’s semi-final against Colombia.
“Hey, look. See how I know where you’ll shoot. And then I’ll save it,” he was heard saying before one of the penalties.
“I’m eating you up, brother. I’m eating you up, brother.”
And his heroics were praised by his captain Lionel Messi, who said: “It was difficult at times. But we have Emi and he’s phenomenal. We trusted him.”
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