David de Gea’s ‘dark arts’ moments before Solly March blazed his penalty over the bar in the shootout defeat at Wembley Stadium were only just noticed by Manchester United fans.
In the FA Cup semifinal match against Brighton, Man United beat them 7-6 on penalties to secure their spot in the final against Manchester City on June 3.
The only player who missed his spot-kick was March, who smashed his effort over the bar, while Victor Lindelof calmly slotted his penalty to secure victory.
Before March’s failed penalty, Wout Weghorst kissed the ball, and fans also realized the role played by De Gea. As the Brighton midfielder approached the spot to take his penalty, the Man United keeper lurked around it.
The Spanish goalkeeper kicks away some dirt before pointing to the penalty spot, with fans online thinking his shithousery influenced March fluffing his lines.
One Twitter user wrote: “Noticed De Gea kicking round the spot just before the only one that missed.”
A second tweeted: “And just like that, I love this squad again.”
A third added: “These little things do play role in crunch moments. Gotta be dirty in football when required even though this is nothing of that sort.”
A fourth commented: “Dark arts of football.”
Another said: “Didn’t even notice this lol.”
De Gea was unable to save any of Brighton’s penalties – just like in the Europa League final against Villarreal in 2021.
But March hitting his penalty over gave the Red Devils victory on Sunday as they have the opportunity to bag a second domestic cup of the season, having already won the Carabao Cup.
Speaking after the game, De Gea said he ‘tried to put pressure’ on Brighton’s penalty takers and fired a warning to Man City.
“It was a very tight game we played a very good team. Brighton play really good football. We are now in the final but we have another big game on Thursday so we need to go home and recover,” he said.
“They were great penalties. I was prepared as always. I tried to put pressure on the taker.”
The 32-year-old added: “There’s still a long way to the final but it will be a big game against one of the best teams in Europe and the world. We showed at home we can beat them [Man City] so let’s hope.
“We are on the right track. One trophy, another final and fighting for the top four. It’s not enough but it’s a big step from last season.”