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FootballAntony celebration for Man United v Coventry was reaction to fans, winger...

Antony celebration for Man United v Coventry was reaction to fans, winger says in FA Cup row

Manchester United winger Antony has defended himself over a photo which appeared to show the Brazil international goading Coventry City’s players while his team-mates were celebrating victory in Sunday’s epic FA Cup semi-final between the sides.

In the picture, which has been widely circulated on social media and led to criticism of Antony and United, the 24-year-old appears to react to Rasmus Hojlund’s decisive spot kick by taunting his crestfallen Coventry counterparts, who recovered from 3-0 behind with 19 minutes of normal time remaining and had a fourth goal ruled out shortly before extra time end.

“Coventry proved why they reached the semi-final,” Antony wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “We [wanted] this spot in the final for our fans and we achieved [it].

“The way our fans were treated by their player was not nice and I, in the heat of the moment, [have] reacted to the provocations in a natural defence of my club.”

Read our other Man Utd news stories here:
‘Not even I would do this’ – Maupay pokes fun at Antony’s FA Cup celebrations
Ten Hag calls criticism over semi-final ‘disgrace’

Mourinho suggests Ten Hag given more trust at Manchester United

Antony did not provide more specific information about the incident he was referring to, but United manager Erik ten Hag said earlier on Tuesday that the celebration from his £86 million signing in 2022 was related to defender Harry Maguire.

Man United v Coventry: Antony ‘should not do it’

“Did you see the reaction of Harry Maguire?” asked Ten Hag. “He was provoked – that’s why this was a reaction.

“You haven’t seen the provocation, only the reaction. But he should not do it. I have seen Harry Maguire straight after and others.”

The eighth-placed team in the Championship had taken the lead in the shootout after United midfielder Casemiro’s penalty was saved.

Callum O’Hare’s penalty was saved by Andre Onana and Ben Sheaf sent his effort over the crossbar as the Premier League side came back to set up a second consecutive final against Manchester City.

Former Aston Villa and England forward Gabriel Agbonlahor is said to have been particularly scathing of Antony, who is United’s second-most expensive signing of all time but has not scored in 29 appearances across the Premier League and Uefa Champions League this season.

“Is this guy the most shameless flop ever to grace our beautiful league?” Agbonlahor was quoted as saying by the Coventry Telegraph.

“Shame on you, Antony – you wouldn’t even start for Coventry, you prat.”

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