Emi Martinez’s mind games at Old Trafford that led to Fernandes penalty miss

Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United is consoled by Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo
Bruno Fernandes of Manchester United is consoled by Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo

The Villans goalkeeper stole the headlines for his tricky mind games in the shocking win against Man Utd.

Aston Villa stunned Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford and the defeat also ended the Red Devils’ unbeaten run in the Premier League.

Villains broke the deadlock in the 88th minute through Kortney Hause but United had a great chance to equalise when they were awarded a penalty in the stoppage time.

As it turned out, Bruno Fernandes, United’s primary penalty taker, failed to convert the chance as his shot flew over the crossbar.

The visitors had to thank goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez for his tricky mind games prior to the penalty.

The Argentine shot-stopper continuously taunted United talisman Cristiano Ronaldo to take the penalty, which had a domino effect on Fernandes’ debacle.

Martinez is not new to this as he had previously done with the national team during the Copa America 2021. In the penalty shootout against Colombia in the semi-finals, the 28-year-old provoked every single penalty taker with continuous taunts. Martinez went on to save three penalties and also helped La Albicelsete win the trophy later. 

Man Utd gaffer Solskjaer was also not happy with Villains’ antics during the penalty as he claimed that Martinez should have received yellow.

The Norwegian boss said (h/t Marca): “I wasn’t going to comment on it, but it’s not right for him to do that, so I suppose it should have been a yellow card.” 

“They have achieved what they wanted, the way they rounded the penalty spot wasn’t to my liking.

“Bruno is mentally strong and will again step forward, the decision on who will take penalties is made before the game.”

It remains to be seen whether the opponents would take a leaf out of Martinez’s book against United’s penalty takers in the future.

For a player with a stronger mentality like Fernandes – who had also created 10 chances in the game, Martinez’s mind games proved overwhelming.