Manchester United drew 2-2 with Juventus in the UEFA Youth League on Wednesday, but there was an unusual incident in the lead-up to the Reds' second equaliser, scored by Aidan Barlow.
Nicky Butt's side managed to draw level for a second time, courtesy of the penalty, but the coach felt that Barlow was placed under added pressure due to a delay in taking the kick.
Turkish referee Hamit Ulil Meler allowed Juve to make a double substitution after Mason Greenwood was fouled inside the box, and it was not something that usually tends to happen. There appears to be no rule against such a change, and goalkeepers, for instance, are changed if they are sent off (with an outfield player making way) but it did appear to be a little unsportsmanlike to not wait until the spot-kick had been taken.
Should this be allowed?Video
Thankfully, Barlow kept his composure to ultimately earn a very good point for the table-topping Reds but it did prompt a lot of post-match debate.
“I'm not sure about that,” Butt told MUTV afterwards.
“I'm actually not sure if it is a rule or not. I couldn't tell you but it was a bit bizarre. If it's not a rule, it needs to get changed. You could make three substitutions and be stood there for another three or four minutes. So it was bizarre really but it's unfair to comment as I don't know if it's a rule or not.
”If it is, the referee would have pulled it but, if it's not, something should be looked at to make it a rule. You could have three substitutions while the lad is waiting to take the penalty and that's not right.
“He tucked it away well, which was pleasing when he was under pressure.”
Barlow was happy to ignore any of the fuss and concentrate on beating home skipper Leonardo Loria from the spot, to continue a good record from 12 yards.
“I wanted to take it,” he told MUTV.
“I was confident. The wait was long but I stuck with where I was going to place it and put it away.
”Yes, I do have a good record. I don't think I've missed many. I'm always practising them.
“I think a few people wanted to take it - Chongy [Tahith Chong], Angel [Gomes] and Mason [Greenwood] but I wanted it. I felt confident and thought I'd step up and put it away.”
Skipper Gomes, who produced another polished performance in midfield and was probably the Man of the Match, was pleased with the point from the 2-2 draw. The 18-year-old provided further evidence that he is maturing nicely this season.
“I thought I played okay,” he said after the game.
“It was difficult at the start, getting into the game, as they watched us in the last match and worked on what they could do better. So they made it difficult but, in the second half, gaps opened up easier for us to impose our style and get up the pitch to show what we could do.
”As each game has gone on, we've got used to how the opposition is going to play and I think we're learning bit by bit. We're seeing what we can improve on in each game and I think that helps us for the next match coming up as well.
“The [artificial] pitch was different to what we normally play on but you expect that in Europe - different pitches, different referees but you've just got to deal with it. The lads showed good character and everyone stayed together, fighting until the end. It was a good game.”
United are next in UEFA Youth League action at Leigh Sports Village against Young Boys on 27 November.Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.