Rashford red card causes pundit chaos as Man Utd sunk by teenager in Copenhagen

In pictures: Copenhagen v Man Utd

Several pundits have clashed over Marcus Rashford’s straight red card during Manchester United’s 4-3 defeat at the hands of Copenhagen on Wednesday night. The Red Devils were leading when the winger was dismissed, with VAR intervening to turn the Champions League tie on its head.

After Rasmus Hojlund had scored a brace against his former side, Rashford was given his marching orders after treading down the calf of Copenhagen’s Elias Jelert whilst trying to shield the ball from the defender. VAR quickly halted play and after reviewing still images of the dangerous-looking challenge, referee Donatas Rumsas issued the red card.

Copenhagen then scored two quick-fire goals before the half-time break, before Bruno Fernandes restored United’s lead from the penalty spot. The Danish side soon hit back after Lukas Lerager capitalised on a lapse in judgement from Diogo Dalot to equalise before teenager Roony Bardghji came off of the bench to break United hearts.

The 17-year-old, coincidentally named after Wayne Rooney, becomes the youngest player to score against the Red Devils in the Champions League – and he may have the dismissal of Rashford to thank for the achievement. TNT Sports commentator Robbie Savage was one of the few to agree with the 26-year-old’s red card, saying: “That, for me, is a red card. When you see it there, he’s just gone to protect the ball, but by doing that, that’s a straight red. One hundred per cent a red card.

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“He’s gone to protect the ball, but as we can see, studs on the shin. He’s gone to get his body between the opposition player and the ball, but by doing that, he’s inadvertently stamped on his shin.” However, not every pundit agreed with the former midfielder.

Ex-Liverpool star Jamie Carragher hit out at the use of VAR for the incident and felt that slowing the collision down only amplified its severity. He tweeted: “No way is that a red card for Rashford! Hate these slow motion replays & still images that make everything look ten times worse.”

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Carragher’s former England teammates Owen Hargreaves and Paul Scholes were in total agreement, with the latter saying at half-time: “It’s an accident. He’s trying to protect his ball, plant his foot. This is where the referee’s understanding of the game needs to come into question.”

Hargreaves added: “He’s just trying to put his leg up so he bumps into it. In real-time, he’s not trying to foul him. I know it looks poor but it’s not malicious, it’s not serious foul play.” Erik ten Hag and Rashford are likely to have something to say about the matter, though despite their pleas, it won’t change the result and United will need a stroke of luck if they are to reach the knockouts of the Champions League this season.

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