It took a VAR review for Southampton defender Jan Bednarek to be given his marching orders – but he claims Anthony Martial agreed it shouldn’t have even been a penalty.
Southampton were already down to ten men, with United six goals to the good in a one-sided contest at Old Trafford.
Martial had come off the bench at half-time to make the visitors night even worse, thumping a strike into the roof of the net for United’s fifth.
Referee Mike Dean then had no hesitation in pointing to the spot after United’s No.9 took a tumble in the box, in close proximity to Bednarek.
The Saints defender looked to have tripped Martial, but on closer inspection it seemed the Frenchman had dived to win the penalty.
Dean then consulted the pitchside monitor to review his decision, and compounded Bednarek’s misery by brandishing his second red card of the evening.
Bednarek had no other option but to head for the showers, but was overheard complaining as he trudged down the tunnel.
“Martial said it’s not a foul,” he protested.
It capped a sorry night for Bednarek, who had turned one into his own net earlier in the night, but Southampton’s work had been cut out since Alexandre Jankewitz’s second-minute sending off.
The penalty call mattered little to the course of the match, but Bednarek may have helped his side avoid another 9-0 humiliation.
Bruno Fernandes dispatched the resultant spot kick, adding to earlier goals from Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Marcus Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Scott McTominay.
Martial then added his second late on, before Dan James scored in injury time.
But debate in the BT Sport studio after the match was less about United’s performance and more about Martial’s perceived dive.
“At that time I think Martial was on his way down before the contact was made, if I’m really honest,” Glenn Hoddle said.
“There wasn’t enough contact at that moment there were Martial starts going down.
“We only know there’s maybe a contact on his ankle, but it’s after he starts to fall down.
“It’s a very difficult one but when he goes over to the screen I’m expecting Mike Dean to say ‘actually, no, there wasn’t contact there’.”