Manchester United’s shock defeat to second division Middlesbrough on Friday was a dramatic FA Cup encounter that saw everything from a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty miss, to a VAR controversy, to a penalty shootout.

While United started the game in blistering fashion and found themselves in the lead through a beautiful Jadon Sancho finish, despite Ronaldo missing a penalty, the team in red could not finish the game off.

The Red Devils started the second half in impressive style too, but failed to extend their lead, keeping Middlesbrough in a game that should have been finished off in the first half.

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However, football is a game of ifs and buts, and Middlesbrough got a lucky break in the second half when winger Duncan Watmore accidentally handled the ball and set up his teammate Matt Crooks for a goal with a floated ball across the goal.

As Middlesbrough celebrated an equaliser completely against the run of play, United players crowded around referee Anthony Taylor, demanding that the goal be disallowed due to the handball.

Taylor, however, would have none of it and VAR concluded that Watmore’s handball was accidental, thereby letting the goal stand.

The game stood at 1-1 after 90 minutes and ended with Middlesbrough sealing the win after extra time and a dramatic penalty shootout that saw 19-year-old Anthony Elanga miss his decisive spot kick.

That being said, given the nature of the handball, wherein Watmore’s hand was well away from his body, United’s protests were perhaps not unfounded.

Understandably, the decision to let the goal stand did not go down well with the United faithfuls, and fans, players, and pundits alike took to social media in outrage.

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Former United defender Rio Ferdinand indicated that the decision was a farce, while England great Gary Lineker called it “ridiculous.”

Journalist Piers Morgan, not one to mince his words, called VAR a “pathetic joke.”

United goalkeeper David de Gea also took to social media to convey his shock at the referee’s decision to let the goal stand.

Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick, too, expressed his bafflement at the decision after the match, telling the press, “We conceded a goal which I don’t understand why it stood. He controlled it with his hand. In the moment when they scored, it was clear that VAR would not allow this goal to stand.”