West Ham’s Michail Antonio was a thorn in Manchester United’s side on Wednesday night.
It’s still in United‘s hands to secure a Champions League place against Leicester City on Sunday, but their tepid 1-1 draw at home to the Hammers was an opportunity missed nonetheless.
In the end, Mason Greenwood continuing his golden streak in front of goal was what rescued a point for the Red Devils, once again showing his ambipedal skills to fire past Lukasz Fabianski.
West Ham’s penalty at Old Trafford
But United fans will agree that they should never have gone 1-0 down in the first place, conceding one of the softest penalties you’ll see all season late in the first-half.
West Ham won a controversial free-kick for a challenge from Timothy Fosu-Mensah, which they decided to take by teeing up Declan Rice for a long-range strike after his Watford screamer.
But instead of hurtling towards the corner as it had done the week before, the England midfielder’s rasping strike came flying at Paul Pogba’s face.
Antonio makes no mistake
The United midfielder instinctively raised his hands to protect his countenance, but conceded a penalty in doing so with VAR confirming that it had indeed hit his arms.
While, yes, you’ve got to feel for Pogba who was left with a split-second decision, Harry Maguire was one of the first people to admit after the game that he should have taken one for the team.
Nevertheless, a penalty it was and Michail Antonio continued his rich vein of form to convert from the spot, selling David de Gea the wrong way and slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
Antonio collects £250k goal bonus
Antonio was then seen joking with Bruno Fernandes about the bizarre nature of the penalty, much to Pogba’s chagrin, in an amusing moment that has taken on extra meaning now.
That’s because The Sun have revealed that Antonio earned himself a cool £250,000 goal bonus for a strike that might never have happened if it wasn’t for Pogba’s handball.
Why? Well, Antonio has explained that he came to an arrangement with penalty-taker Mark Noble that he would take the next spot kick if one was awarded.
That would, in turn, given him an opportunity to move to 10 goals for the season and thus pocket a mind-bending quarter-of-a-million pounds in the process. No wonder he was smiling.
Antonio explains the story behind the penalty
Antonio explained: “Me and Nobes talked and he asked me what my target was for the season. I said it’s ten goals and it’s been my target for the last five years I’ve been here.
“I’ve never been able to reach it – I’d got to nine but not ten – so he said if we get a penalty in the next two games he’d give it to me because I’d scored so many important goals for us this month and he believed I would score.
“I honestly didn’t think we’d get a penalty, and when we got it, I didn’t think he’d still give it to me! But as soon as they made the decision on VAR he said, ‘Are you ready?’ And…
Read More:Paul Pogba’s terrible handball vs West Ham helped Michail Antonio win a massive