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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Andre Onana penalty record and his big moment for Manchester United can change everything

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It all seemed like a blur. 94 minutes had been played and the referee may well have just condemned Manchester United to Europa League football, at best.

Fans began preparing their exits as they expected the net to bulge as Jordan Larsson stepped up to effectively end, or seriously dent, United’s hopes of qualifying out of the group.

Coming up against a goalkeeper in Andre Onana, who has had a poor start to his career, it seemed a formality for the youngster.

However, Onana got a strong right hand to the shot and tipped it around the post which even delighted Tyson Fury, and was, unsurprisingly, mauled by his teammates.

Onana, for a brief moment, perhaps showed the gravitas of the situation for United when his eyes widened after saving the penalty and he yelled at his teammates that there was a corner to be taken, but the whistle had been blown.

Manchester United v F.C. Copenhagen: Group A - UEFA Champions League 2023/24

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The weight and pressure of playing for United, especially as a goalkeeper can weigh heavy on the shoulders of whoever it is.

Speaking in July after David De Gea departed the club, Gary Neville said it best about just how hard the position of United number one is.


“Being Man United goalkeeper is the hardest position in English football,” Neville admitted on The Overlap. “It brings the most scrutiny. You have to have a world-class goalkeeper in the Premier League and Man United needs to make that change now.”

Onana, however, has the personality and the self-confidence to succeed at Old Trafford and it was hard to turn your back on a goalkeeper who was so upfront and honest when he made the mistakes he did against Bayern Munich and Galatasaray.

Goalkeepers, usually, want to avoid the limelight after making a big mistake but Onana, to his credit, stood up for the team and admitted his mistake, that takes guts.

Onana’s penalty record

Onana, who joined the club from Inter Milan, has saved 24 per cent of the penalties he has faced in normal or extra time, according to FBREF.

The goalkeeper looked confident before the penalty was taken and it was a strong hand that denied Larsson and saved United’s season from entering obscurity.

The goalkeeper needed that moment for his United career and the confident 27-year-old was almost overcome with emotion in the seconds after the save.

It’s been said before, but wins and moments like that have to be the turning point for not just Onana, but United, too.

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