Lisandro Martinez clearly doesn’t know the definition of “friendly” after producing a crunching tackle on Bukayo Saka in Manchester United’s game against Arsenal.
The two Premier League giants met in front of 80,000 fans at the MetLife Stadium in Jersey, with United racing into a 2-0 lead in the first half, courtesy of goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho.
Fernandes celebrated becoming United’s permanent captain by opening the scoring with a left-footed strike that many felt Aaron Ramsdale should have kept out.
The England goalkeeper got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep out the effort. A second error led to United’s second goal as Gabriel Magalhaes completely missed his kick, allowing Jadon Sancho to race in behind and supply an emphatic finish.
However, a huge talking point in the first half was a tackle from Martinez, who folded Saka in half.
The Argentine defender is known for being aggressive and loving physical contact, and he lived up to that reputation when he went straight through Saka with a forceful challenge.
Lisandro Martinez 😳pic.twitter.com/o4iDwIF95h
— ✯ αsɪα (@vc_1_vc) July 22, 2023
Martinez won the first ball and flew into the tackle, completely taking Saka out. The England international gave a small shove as he sat up, but his captain Martin Odegaard was quick to confront Martinez, who promptly received a yellow card.
Tempers looked like they might just flare, but things were diffused just in time. Nevertheless, the tackle garnered a whole lot of reaction from players and fans alike due to its forceful nature and the subsequent confrontation on the field.
📸 – Lisandro Martínez vs Odegaard! pic.twitter.com/NUrw6PF0wB
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) July 22, 2023
One wrote: “I get that it’s a rivalry and I get that it’s an ‘intense’ friendly but Martinez shouldn’t be going into a challenge like that in this game.”
Another fumed: “Martinez and Bruno just running around trying to injure our players in a friendly. Why we agreed to this game I’ll never know.”
A third said: “Lisandro Martinez challenging Bukayo Saka with a Carabao Cup final mentality. Relax, it’s just a friendly.”
A fourth user opined: “There is absolutely no reason for Lisandro Martinez to come clattering into Bukayo Saka in a preseason match. Just a complete and total lack of respect and class.”
A fifth stated: “Crunching challenge from Martinez on Saka in preseason. A bit much, could’ve been tragic for Saka before the season even starts.”
A final user added: “That Martinez tackle on Saka was dirty. Absolutely no need for it in a friendly.”
Martinez only recently returned from a metatarsal injury but clearly doesn’t have it in him to take it easy. He loves an altercation and got into it with Mason Mount, now his teammate at United, last season.