MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United made an embarrassing early exit from the FA Cup after losing to second-tier side Middlesbrough in a penalty shootout at Old Trafford on Friday.
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The fourth round got off to a stunning start when the English Premier League giant arguably saw its last realistic hope of silverware this season extinguished by Chris Wilder’s Championship outfit.
Jadon Sancho opened the scoring for Ralf Rangnick’s star-studded side, but lifelong United fan Matt Crooks leveled and the match finished 1-1 after extra time.
Every penalty found the net until Anthony Elanga missed his at the Stretford End, wrapping up an 8-7 spot-kick success for Boro and sending its 9,500 visiting fans wild.
Few could have seen the match going the distance given the way Manchester United started.
Sancho hit the crossbar inside 80 seconds of a one-sided first half in which he would fire the hosts ahead via a slight Isaiah Jones defection shortly after Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty miss.
Boro looked limited but the host’s profligacy hurt it, and Duncan Watmore crossed for fellow former United youth player Crooks to score in front of the raucous traveling Teessiders.
Most inside the stadium expected the goal to be ruled out for Watmore’s handball in the build-up, but it was apparently deemed accidental by both referee and VAR.
Fernandes inexplicably managed to hit a post with the goal at his mercy and the match went to extra time and then penalties, where Elanga shot over the crossbar after 15 successive goals.