Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez began to cause havoc while Bruno Fernandes gripped the ball and waited for what seemed like an age to take the penalty. Martinez looked to be questioning Cristiano Ronaldo about why he was not taking the penalty kick when his Portugal colleague did. Edinson Cavani noticed what he was doing and attempted to guide the Argentine goalkeeper back to his goal. It was a reasonable question, and one that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been asked since Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford last month.
'Of course, I've had a conversation with the two of them,' Solskjaer added. ‘We have two players there that I would trust with my life to take a penalty kick, and that's a fantastic situation to be in.' It will be up to me to decide what will happen. When they're asked to accept the penalty, the two of them will continue to do what they've always done.' After Aston Villa goalkeeper Kortney Hause handled in the box two minutes into additional time at Old Trafford, we got our response. Martinez snatched the ball from Fernandes and went to work.
His goal was to agitate Fernandes and get into his brain. Plant a doubt in his mind that he'd gotten the nod over an equally skilled penalty taker standing just yards away. The stakes were high. When Newcastle's Karl Darlow denied Fernandes in October last year, he had only missed one of his 22 penalty efforts for United. This one blasted well over the bar into the Stretford End and wasn't even close. Before the game, Solskjaer lamented the quantity of penalties handed to his club this season, but when given his first chance of the season, he couldn't have been more off target.
Some argue that Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford after a 12-year absence has harmed his former team, and that United would be better off without him. Even if he was defeated by Villa, it's difficult to concur with his statement.
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