‘Not starting Martinez is a criminal act’: Manchester United fans fume as their centre back is left out of Argentina’s starting line-up for their World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia
- Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni is being blasted for his selection in the opener
- Nicolas Otamendi was picked in defence over Man United’s Lisandro Martinez
- Fans have taken to social media to share their shock over Otamendi’s selection
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Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni is being blasted by fans for his ‘criminal’ decision to bench Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez for 34-year-old Nicolas Otamendi.
Benfica defender Otamendi was a surprise inclusion ahead of their opening clash against Saudi Arabia, especially with Martinez being left on the bench.
Martinez, who has 10 caps, has impressed since his summer switch from Ajax to United, becoming a key part of Erik ten Hag’s side.
Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez was left on the bench for Argentina’s opener
Benfica defender Nicolas Otamendi was a surprise inclusion ahead of their World Cup opener
The 24-year-old was very much expected to be at the heart of defence for Argentina, but Scaloni instead opted for former Manchester City defender Otamendi and Tottenham’s Cristian Romero in central defence.
Otamendi has been a regular for Argentina during their 36-match unbeaten run heading into the major tournament, therefore perhaps shouldn’t be a surprise.
Fans, however, have taken to social media to slam Scaloni on his decision to pick the Otamendi over Martinez.
One fan said: ‘Otamedni over Martinez is criminal.
A second posted: ‘2022 and Otamendi is starting over Martinez, the disrespect.
Fans have taken to social media to slam Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni for his selection choices
A third agreed: ‘Otamendi over Martinez? What’s the Argentina manager smoking?
A fourth tweeted: ‘Not starting Martinez is a criminal act.
Another added: ‘Otamendi over Martinez. Argentina manager is mad.’
Argentina currently lead 1-0 against Saudia Arabia in their opening match of the World Cup thanks to a penalty from star forward Lionel Messi.
Scaloni’s side have had the ball into the back on two other occasions during the first-half through Messi and Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, but both were ruled out for offside.
It will come as a huge surprise that Argentina only lead 1-0 at half-time, given their dominance throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Saudi Arabia equalised just two minutes and 41 seconds into the second-half through Saleh Al-Shehri.
Martinez was then brought off the bench in the 59th minute to replace Romero to provide a solid foundation at the back after Argentina slipped to a shock 2-1 deficit, when Salem Al Dawsari scored six minutes prior to that.
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