Just minutes after Bruno Fernandes escaped the horror of conceding a penalty against West Brom thanks to an overturn from David Coote, Manchester United won a spot-kick of their own.
In the 52nd minute of the tie, Coote had no choice but to point to the spot when Darnell Furlong blocked Juan Mata’s cross with his hand.
This decision was not questionable at all, Furlong had his back turned and handled the ball with his arm in an unnatural position.
Fernandes stepped up from 12 yards out, deploying his usual hop-skip technique, but the playmaker’s effort was saved by Sam Johnstone.
Unfortunately, it was deemed that Johnstone – a graduate of United’s academy who arrived from the Red Devils in the summer of 2018 – leapt off his line way before the whistle blew.
Fernandes made no mistake the second time around, as he fired the ball towards the corner, giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side the lead.
Pictures from BT Sport and Optus Sport.
This was an absolutely heartbreaking moment for Johnstone, with the ace understandably unable to break into the first-team at United, saving a penalty at Old Trafford really would be the next best thing.
Considering the advantage that penalty takers already have, the rule regarding keepers and their position on the line certainly needs to be eased to try and level the playing field.
Johnstone made a brilliant read, perhaps something he’s spent plenty of time studying on, but was robbed off a hard-earned and crucial save due to the current rules.
Slaven Bilic, the players and the entire West Brom fanbase will be completely gutted to become victims of an ineffective set of rules.