RIO FERDINAND and Cesc Fabregas were left flabbergasted during Manchester United’s Carabao Cup semi-final at Manchester City last night.
The legendary pair were dumbfounded after Fred stepped up to take a dangerous looking free-kick instead of Juan Mata.
United were 1-0 up on the night but still trailed 3-2 on aggregate and could have drawn level if the 87th minute set-piece was scored.
Mata had only been on the pitch for 11 minutes when the opportunity arose having come on for Luke Shaw after Nemanja Matic was sent-off.
Nicolas Otamendi conceded a foul on the edge of City’s box and the stage looked set for a dramatic late finish.
And many – including Ferdinand and Fabregas – expected Mata to step up.
Having scored a sumptuous late free-kick from similar range at Juventus in last season’s Champions League, it seemed a no-brainer for the Spaniard to do the honours.
But Fred – who has been taking some set-pieces for United recently – waved him away and proceeded to smash his effort straight into the wall much to the frustration of the away fans.
And former United captain Ferdinand was left utterly perplexed.
He tweeted: “Please can someone explain to me why @juanmata8 isnt on that free kick! #specialist.”
And his bafflement was shared by Mata’s former international teammate Fabregas who simply replied: “Incredible.”
Fabregas followed it up with a couple of disbelieving emojis before later tweeting: “Fred has been very good in the last few big games Ive watched him.”
And he also replied to a fan and wrote: “Mata should have taken it all day long.”
United failed to score another goal and despite winning 1-0 on the night crashed out 3-2 on aggregate.