Anthony Elanga.

Should Atletico's winner have stood?

Tuesday 15 March 2022 23:44

There has been intense debate after Atletico Madrid's goal at Old Trafford was allowed to stand and, ultimately, prove enough to knock Manchester United out of the Champions League.

Most inside the ground fully expected referee Slavko Vincic to give United a free-kick when Reinildo brought down Anthony Elanga as the youngster looked to surge forward on the right flank, and possibly even book the Atleti man.

Instead, the Slovakian allowed play to go on and Fred was also bowled over in the build-up before Antoine Griezmann's far-post cross was nodded in by Renan Lodi, whose decisive contribution at Old Trafford followed his outstanding assist for Joao Felix's goal in the first leg.

Was Anthony Elanga fouled seconds before Atletico's goal?

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick was clear in his view that the winner should have been ruled out by VAR.

"I still believe there was a foul on Anthony Elanga a little bit before that counter-attack moment," the boss told MUTV. "But the referee and linesman didn't see it that way."

Ex-United striker Andy Cole was of a similar opinion when discussing the incident on our official channel.

"When you see the Elanga decision, it is a strange decision," commented the Treble winner.

However, two other ex-Reds, Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves, did not feel it was worthy of a free-kick when discussing the incident in BT Sport's studio at half-time.

Scholes, also a Treble winner, said: “I didn’t think it was a foul at the time. I thought he [Elanga] went down far too easy for me.”

Hargreaves, who was part of our 2008 Champions League-winning side, added: “I don’t know. As a player, I’ve played there, I wouldn’t expect that to be given. I think he’s already gone down, he’s a little bit off balance. Maybe showing the fact he’s [got] a little bit of inexperience.

“Look, you hope for that [free-kick decision] but I don’t think you’re going to get that call in a Champions League game like this.”

Certainly, most of the crowd felt at the time it was a decision that went against the Reds and it proved the pivotal moment of the game, with Atleti seeing out the second half to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.