Chicharito gives Man United a lifeline...until some of the worst PKs keep club reeling
With Manchester United's League Cup hopes slipping away at Old Trafford, Mexican national team forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez changed Fergie Time into Moyes Minutes. And then the wheels fell off anyway. Such is Manchester United's 2013-14 season.
Chicharito's last-gasp goal in stoppage time of the second half of extra time forced penalties against Jozy Altidore's Sunderland at Old Trafford, but some of just the most atrocious penalties ever negated Manchester United's lifeline, with Sunderland adding to the Red Devils' misery and preventing an all-Manchester final at Wembley Stadium in March by prevailing (3-3 on aggregate, 2-1 in penalties).
United looked left for dead when goalkeeper David de Gea fumbled Phil Bardsley's long-range shot into his own net, momentarily appearing to put Sunderland through to the final against Manchester City. Chicharito kept United alive, though, latching onto Adnan Januzaj's cross and bundling home from close range (video below):
Minutes before his goal, in the first half of extra time, Chicharito flubbed a breakaway that certainly would've slammed the door shut on Sunderland. Januzaj played him through down the center perfectly, but a poor first touch forced the Mexican forward into rushing his shot from outside the area, and it came nowhere close.
Chicharito bounced back, though, and with his goal giving United momentum heading into penalties -- and giving de Gea new life -- it seemed as if the Red Devils, who are reportedly close to signing Chelsea's Juan Mata, would power through to the final.
Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones missed the mark completely (no, really, COMPLETELY), though, and Januzaj and Rafael had their attempts saved by Vito Mannone, and Sunderland, despite having three pretty awful misses of their own, managed to go through. Video of the shootout his below:
Suffice it to say, it was no repeat of Spain-Italy in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup semifinals.
U.S. star Altidore, who came on as an 86th-minute substitute for Sunderland, did not take any of the Black Cats' PKs, but he will have a chance to claim some silverware on the grand stage at Wembley: