On this day in 2009, Dimitar Berbatov’s awful penalty cost Manchester United the quintuple in a FA Cup defeat to Everton. The Bulgaria international’s tame effort was easily saved in the shootout at Wembley after the match finished 0-0. Sir Alex Ferguson, however, refused to criticise his No 9 after the game – and the following week, too.
Manchester United went up against Everton on course to make history.
They’d won the Community Shield and EFL Cup earlier in the campaign, beating Portsmouth and Tottenham in the final.
And with United top of the Premier League table and on the verge of reaching the Champions League final, they were daring to dream big.
Unfortunately, however, Everton rocked the Red Devils by knocking them out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage.
While centre-back Rio Ferdinand missed his effort, Berbatov’s penalty was woefully bad.
The Bulgaria international’s tame shot was easily saved by Howard and it was branded a penalty ‘as poor as it comes’ by BBC commentators.
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“He has missed a few games and overall yesterday, I thought he did really well.”
The following week, however, Berbatov showed his class by stepping up.
He was magnificent in a 5-2 victory over Spurs at Old Trafford, where the Red Devils had fallen 2-0 down courtesy of goals from Darren Bent and Luka Modric.
Berbatov and braces from Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney then helped United turn the game around and claim all three points.
And Ferguson waxed lyrical over the Bulgarian after he turned on the style to put his old employers to the sword.
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“I don’t think he gave the ball away once, throughout the entire game,” stated the Scot.
“I thought he was our best player in the first half and then in the second he produced some wonderful moments.
“He produces moments that make you sit back and say: ‘that’s world class’. The pass he gave Ronaldo in the second half was unbelievable.
“Look, he missed a penalty kick. Many players have done that. Rio missed one last weekend as well and it’s all forgotten about.
“But because we paid so much money for Berbatov people are on his back. I know it was a bad penalty kick, I’m not making excuses for it. But we have to move on. It’s only a missed penalty.
“He produced some fantastic football last week but didn’t get the credit because of the penalty miss.”
Berbatov would go on to win Ferguson and United fans round.
He fired them to title glory in 2011, scoring more goals than the likes of Wayne Rooney, Nani and Javier Hernandez.
And he’s fondly-remembered at Old Trafford for his stunning skill, ridiculous touch and eye for goal.