Victor Lindelof has enjoyed, perhaps, his biggest highlight since he joined the club in 2017 as the Sweden international kept his nerves to fire his side into the FA Cup final.
The 28-year-old was given the nod by Erik ten Hag as Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire were all unavailable for the semi-final against Brighton and Hove Albion at Wembley.
The two sides could not be separated after 120 minutes and after each side had scored all of their six penalties each, Solly March’s spot-kick was blazed over, setting the scene for a winner.
Lindelof courageously stepped up after a season of very few appearances, firing the ball into the top corner before being ambushed by jubilant team-mates.
Speaking after the game, Lindelof admitted that it was a ‘relief’ to score the winning goal but also stressed the importance of defending well in regulation time.
“It felt great [scoring the winning penalty]. It was a great relief and we’re glad to be in the final,” Lindelof is quoted as saying by the BBC.
“I have confidence in myself and I knew which penalty I wanted to take and that’s what I did. We defended well. Brighton played well. They are confident with the ball but it felt good to keep a clean sheet.”
United supporters have been fearing the worst since Ten Hag lost his first-choice centre-back pairing but as the manager has stressed all season, he is keeping faith in his options in the squad.
Lindelof has hardly played this season but he stepped up to deliver a near-perfect performance at Wembley, with Luke Shaw also impressing in a makeshift role beside him.
Martinez is highly unlikely to be back for the final and the six weeks between now and then is the perfect chance for Lindelof to cement his place in the side.