Belfast Telegraph

FA aim to shine light on Wayne Rooney laser attack in Capital One Cup penalty shoot-out

By Liam Blackburn

The Football Association will investigate the directing of a laser towards Manchester United's Wayne Rooney during Wednesday's Capital One Cup clash with Middlesbrough.

Footage from the fourth-round tie at Old Trafford shows a green light appearing on United and England captain Rooney's face as he prepared to take his kick in the penalty shoot-out at the end of the contest.

Rooney's effort was saved by Boro goalkeeper Tomas Mejias as United were beaten 3-1 in the shoot-out following a 0-0 draw after extra-time.

The FA said yesterday it was aware of reports of the incident and was looking into the matter.

The penalties were taken at the end of the ground housing Boro supporters, with around 10,000 away supporters in attendance.

Rooney did not raise the laser issue in any post-match interview, though he did appear to be complaining to one of the match officials on the pitch after the game.

The 30-year-old is coming under increasing pressure to help raise his troubled United side with some of the form he showed earlier in his career, and this miss will do nothing to ease the situation.

Rooney's teammates Michael Carrick and Ashley Young also missed with penalties. But Old Trafford supremo Louis van Gaal isn't prepared to point the finger of blame at his England internationals.

Only teenager Andreas Pereira scored from 12 yards following a goalless 120 minutes, yet Van Gaal was not prepared to attribute responsibility to the unfortunate trio who failed to find the net.

"In the goal was a goalkeeper; and he was very quick and he gambled also," the Dutchman said.

"He's 195 centimetres. That is not easy to do when the goalkeeper is gambling for the right corner. You need players who look at the goalkeeper and put it in the other (corner)...very early he goes away. It is already 120 minutes you have played so you are not so sharp any more. These things happen."

Of more concern to the United boss was his men's wastefulness during the 120 minutes that preceded the penalties.

Rooney, Young and Anthony Martial were all called for from the bench inside 71 minutes as the hosts failed to break down their Sky Bet Championship opponents in normal time.

Marouane Fellaini then twice missed the target with close-range headers, a feat Martial was also guilty of, as Boro held on to force a shoot-out where they would come out on top.

"When you are not finishing the chances - and they were very easy chances in front of the goal or in front of the goalkeeper - then it is very difficult to win a game because the goals are counting, not the chances," added Van Gaal. "You can say it is unlucky but that I have said already after the match against (Manchester) City also because that was also 0-0.

"You have to force the luck also, we didn't do that because we didn't score. That's why I'm disappointed."

Boro progressed to book a last-eight home tie with Everton and boss Aitor Karanka assured his players they outperformed the 20-time English champions on their own patch.

"I told my players after the game that we were better than them - we were more confident on the pitch, we were fitter than them," he said.

"For that reason, I have to say how proud I am of my players. Penalties sometimes you lose - last season we lost against Liverpool after 30 penalties - and sometimes you can win.

"The main thing is the performance, and the performance against Man United, a big team, it was amazing."

Former Chelsea team doctor Eva Carneiro's lawyers have served notice on the club that she intends to seek a claim for constructive dismissal.

The news comes as a further blow for manager Jose Mourinho, whose side crashed out of the Capital One Cup with a 5-4 loss on penalties at 10-man Stoke on Tuesday.

Belfast Telegraph


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