Anthony Martial took Manchester United’s penalty against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League group stage game because he was the designated penalty taker for the night. The Red Devils already had Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford on the pitch when the Frenchman was illegally brought down in the box.
The Portuguese player has been Manchester United’s go-to man with penalties ever since he joined the Red Devils in January of this year. Rashford, on the other hand, was equally efficient from the spot last season, scoring seven penalties.
However, Martial’s record has not been so good – he only scored against Partizan Belgrade last season and had scored seven goals from nine penalties for Manchester United ahead of the game. Fernandes and Rashford, understandably, are ahead of him when it comes to taking penalties.
However, the Frenchman got the nod against Leipzig even though Rashford was on a hat-trick himself. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now revealed the reason why.
Martial and Pogba were on penalty-taking duties for Manchester United against RB Leipzig
As soon as Manchester United were awarded a penalty, Solskjaer shouted from the bench, ordering Martial to take the responsibility. The Red Devils were already leading 3-0 when Martial stepped up to score his first goal of the season and Solskjaer later revealed that the Frenchman was on penalty duties for the game.
"Before the game, I said Antho was going to take penalties and that's it. If you look at the starting squad, it was either Antho or Paul [Pogba] to take penalties, and Paul was taken off.
Manchester United were expected to face a stern test against the impressive Bundesliga side but put in one of their finest performances in the Solskjaer era instead. The Norwegian was visibly impressed with the efforts of his wards after the game.
"We're very happy with the start. We've played against two very good teams, two difficult games, but we have performed fantastic and made use of the squad and shown our own quality as well," said Solskjaer.
Manchester United face Istanbul Basaksehir next in back-to-back games, and if the Red Devils manage to win those two games, they will be guaranteed passage to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with two games remaining. Solskjaer was adamant that his team would go for all three points when they visit the Turkish side.
"If we focus on the next job and the next job and the next job, who knows how far we are gonna go? So now we go to Istanbul next week wanting three points there as well," said Solskjaer.
With Edinson Cavani also in the roster now, Manchester United are not short of penalty takers at the moment. The question is, who will take the next penalty for the Red Devils?Published 29 Oct 2020, 21:33 IST