A rash Scott McTominay boot gave Kobenhavn a lifeline at Old Trafford.
Denmark had given themselves a good account of themselves in Group A, but Harry Maguire’s close-range header meant they were once again in danger of exiting the Champions League group stages without showing for their efforts.
However, the sudden expectations pushed to Kobenhavn paled in comparison to Tuesday’s opponents. Having lost their first two group games for the first time in this competition, this was a competition Manchester United simply had to win.
McTominay’s challenge gave the visitors a spot-kick in the last minute, but after Maguire had nodded the hosts in front, there was still time for one more penalty arc. Andre Onana’s start to life in Manchester has been rather dismal, but his powerful right-hander denied Jordan Larsson from 12 yards to send a dejected Theater of Dreams into a frenzy.
It was a big moment from the Cameroonian and it’s fair to say United fans haven’t enjoyed many heroics from their goalkeepers in similar circumstances down the years.
Onana saves United against Kobenhavn / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages
Penalty kick %
penalty shootout Man Utd
Man Utd’s penalty kicks
Man Utd penalty %
David de Gea
Statistics taken from transfermarkt.com
The sample is a minute, but Onana has saved two of the four penalties he has received in a Man Utd shirt. OK, technically he didn’t save Mauro Icardi’s spot-kick in Matchday 2 of the group stage, but Transfermarkt declares the receiver’s errant effort a save in favor of the goalkeeper.
His shutout on Tuesday night is arguably the most important of his career, with Onana making nine saves of the 37 shots he’s faced. His career save percentage of 24.3 tops both the records of David de Gea and Peter Schmeichel.
Having won the pre-VAR world, Schmeichel only conceded 37 penalties in his career and 19 at United. Despite his reputation as arguably the best goalkeeper of his generation, Schmeichel saved just one penalty in the top flight at Old Trafford. However, his denial of Dennis Bergkamp in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final was one of the defining moments of the club’s historic treble.
Peter Schmeichel saves a penalty from Dennis Bergkamp with minutes remaining in the FA Cup semi-final in April 1999. The rest, history #MUFC 🇾🇪 pic.twitter.com/uxeS8mUWSL
— Man Utd: ThroughTheLens (@ManUnitedLens) October 11, 2020
De Gea, meanwhile, was criticized for his penalty-taking skills, particularly in the penalty shootout. The Spaniard memorably missed any of Villarreal’s 11 penalties in the 2021 Europa League final before missing a 12-yarder himself. However, De Gea’s record is not bad. His career save percentage is 18.9, while his 14 Premier League save percentage is comparable to the likes of Hugo Lloris (13%), Ederson (14%) and Alisson (14%).
The top scorer saved eight of the 50 penalties he conceded in a United shirt, four of which proved decisive as his side went one goal clear. De Gea saved from the likes of Robin van Persie, Steven Gerrard and Romelu Lukaku during his United career. Schmeichel meanwhile refused both Bergkamp and Deco. Onana’s resume is yet to include such star names.
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