'Stupid' Anthony Martial earns pardon from Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal with Champions League equaliser in Moscow

 
Ross McLean
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Anthony Martial atoned for his handball with a second-half equaliser in Moscow (Source: Getty)

CSKA Moscow 1 Manchester United 1

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal insisted he had forgiven Anthony Martial for a “stupid” blunder after the teenager rescued a point for his side against CSKA Moscow in the Russian capital last night.

Returning to the scene of their 2008 Champions League triumph over Premier League rivals Chelsea, a lacklustre United trailed at the break after Roma loanee Seydou Doumbia reacted first following goalkeeper David de Gea’s penalty save from Roman Eremenko.

The spot-kick was awarded for an impetuous handball from Martial, although the £36m hitman redeemed himself by heading a second-half leveller from Antonio Valencia’s cross.

“This is a stupid reaction of Anthony [Martial],” said Van Gaal. “Of course [I forgive him]. He was playing again with a lot of strength and he plays always at a certain level. He is very consistent and for a 19-year-old boy I like that.”

A point moved United second in Group B, two points behind leaders VFL Wolfsburg, who last night beat PSV Eindhoven 2-0 at the Volkswagen Arena, although Van Gaal admitted the picture might have been rosier.

“We could not play at a high tempo, it was too slow in the first half,” he added. “We had to improve at switching from side to side and we did. We could have won but could have means nothing in football.”

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