There was only going to be one winner in the Man of the Match debate – Sergio Romero. Pulling off save after save, Romero did nothing to show that he is a second-choice keeper.
The match started off in the worst possible way for Romero, having to face a penalty after just five minutes. The save suggests that United are practising penalties ahead of next week’s date with Ajax. A low save to his right, Romero did very well to ensure he did not parry it into the path of the on rushing Gabbiadini and other Southampton players. Yes the penalty could have been better, but take nothing away from the Argentine.
The second half saw Romero go from strength to strength. First a save from a freekick from Dusan Tadic. He topped that stop with a save from Oriol Romeu after a Nathan Redmond cutback. But the save of the night has to be the one he pulled off to keep James Ward-Prowse’s effort away. Stretching himself to the extreme, Romero tipped the curling effort beyond his post. His performance today justifies Mourinho’s decision to play him in the Final in Stockholm.
It was yet another clean sheet for Romero. He now has 11 clean sheets in 17 appearances this season. Six goals conceded in 17 games is no mean feat. He has proved time and time again what a capable understudy to De Gea he is, but this match took his stock to a whole new level.
Ajax, if they watched Romero’s heroics must be vary of the man. The penalty save also bodes well for United should the match be undecided even after 120 minutes. This match was a perfect way for Romero to keep himself match ready ahead of next week.