If you ever want an example of how not to take penalties, look no further than Manchester United’s shameful display in their Capital One Cup semifinal loss to Sunderland. This was the type of game that United really needed to win in order to salvage anything from an embarrassing season, and they wasted it in spectacular fashion by missing four out of five penalties in front of their home fans. If you are a United fan and didn’t catch the game, I wouldn’t recommend watching the replay.
To be fair, Sunderland were just as bad as United from 12 yards, and only scored two out of six penalties themselves. But their determination to win was never in doubt, and new signing Marcos Alonso and Korean international Ki Sung-yueng did their jobs from the spot, winning the game 2-1 on penalties for the Black Cats after the game was tied 3-3 on aggregate. It was a fitting end, as Sunderland deserved to go through, and will now face goal-scoring juggernauts Manchester City in the final of the Capital One Cup on March 2.
Going into today’s match, United were only down 2-1 on aggregate after losing the first leg away at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, and should have been confident heading back to Old Trafford, needing only one goal to go through. They started well too, and after a miracle save from Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone, United finally made the breakthrough when Jonny Evans scored from the resulting corner in the 37th minute.
United should have killed the game off, and during the Sir Alex Fergueson era, they probably would have. This has not been the case this season under David Moyes, though, and after United missed chance after chance to pad the scoreline, Sunderland looked to have stolen the show when Phil Bardsley scored in the 119th minute to make it 2-3 on aggregate. Luckily for United goalkeeper David De Gea, whose horrendous error allowed Bardsley’s routine shot to hit the back of the net, Mexican international Javier Hernandez scored on the last kick of the match to break Sunderland hearts and take the game to penalties.
The rest, as they say, is history. After a combined seven players from both teams missed, Sunderland were left celebrating their victory in front of the United fans. With Manchester City destroying relegation destined West Ham United 9-0 on aggregate, Sunderland erased the opportunity for a Manchester derby as the final. Hopefully for United, Sunderland will go on to take another Manchester scalp, but even if that does happen, it won’t excuse United for their abhorrent play in 2014.