Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young all missed penalties as Middlesbrough knocked Manchester United out of the Capital One Cup on penalties at Old Trafford. Boro goalkeeper Tomas Mejias saved from Rooney and Young, while Carrick blazed his effort over in between as Boro advanced to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory following a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes.
Louis van Gaal’s side were lackluster on the night against a side that took Liverpool to penalties in this competition last year and eliminated Manchester City in the FA Cup – and United were fortunate to survive past 90 minutes, with Daley Blind twice surviving own-goal scares. He saw one wild hack into the net chalked off for an offside flag against Kike before he breathed a huge sigh of relief as Sergio Romero’s mis-control from his back pass went narrowly wide.
Jesse Lingard struck a post in the 90th minute while Grant Leadbitter and Stewart Downing were denied by Romero in stoppage time.
The hosts should then have sealed their progress as they produced a spate of extra-time misses, Marouane Fellaini, twice, and substitute Anthony Martial guilty of missing close-range headers.
And Boro, losers of a 14-13 shoot-out epic at Anfield last season, made them pay on penalties as United joined Arsenal and Chelsea in crashing out at the last-16 stage.
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The traveling contingent for this fixture stretched into five figures and they made their presence known vocally and visually by shining phone lights 10 minutes in as a show of solidarity for the job losses in the steel industry on Teesside.
They had cause to cheer when George Friend nutmegged Lingard and, moments later, the same player should have sent them in ecstasy. United failed to clear a corner from the left and Emilio Nsue’s ambitious overhead kick fell straight into Friend’s path, but the full-back placed his effort directly at Romero from six yards out.
For the hosts, the likes of Fellaini and Memphis Depay were doing little to prove they warranted consideration from Van Gaal in more high-profile fixtures, the latter in particular constantly losing possession with loose touches and firing a halfway line lob well over Mejias’ net.
Van Gaal had clearly seen enough at the interval, taking off James Wilson for Rooney, and the hosts at least tested Mejias with a series of shots down his throat, one from Depay that he almost fumbled back over his line.