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Manager branded "mad" by furious fans after benching Man Utd star in World Cup opener

Ryan Smart

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Manager branded "mad" by furious fans after benching Man Utd star in World Cup opener

Argentina selected Nicolas Otamendi ahead of Lisandro Martinez for their opening game of the 2022 World Cup against Saudi Arabia - and Manchester United fans were not happy.

Martinez, who has largely impressed at Old Trafford since his summer move from Ajax, was in contention to play at the heart of Argentina's defence.

The 24-year-old had 10 caps for the senior national team prior to the game, but didn't add to that number from the start in a match that Argentina went into as strong favourites.

The inclusion of Otamendi, a former Manchester City defender, further rankled with United fans, with the 34-year-old, who now plays for Benfica, lining up alongside Tottenham's Cristian Romero in central defence.

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However, Otamendi has been a regular in the national side throughout their incredible 36-match unbeaten run heading to Qatar, so it is perhaps no surprise that the centre-back was given the nod to start by Scaloni.

Martinez did eventually make an appearance, being brought on as a 59th-minute substitute in place of Romero.

At the time, Argentina were 2-1 down, with Saudi Arabia holding on to produce a famous victory by the same scoreline.

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Before the match got underway, here is how Red Devils supporters reacted to the news that Otamendi was playing instead of Martinez.

Man Utd fans react to Martinez exclusion

Taking to Twitter, United fans expressed their disappointment that one of their key players would not be starting for his country.

One fan directed their anger at Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni: "Otamendi over Martinez. Argentina manager is mad."

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They were backed by another supporter, who claimed: "There is no way that Martinez went to the World Cup to warm the bench behind Otamendi. What is the manager thinking? Better be resting for the more difficult games."

Another wrote: "Didn't expect to see Otamendi benching Martinez after what he has done for Manchester United. Lisandro Martinez should be starting. Otamendi better not make any mistake today because the dragging will be premium."

And one fan didn't need many words to sum up their thoughts: "Otamendi starts over Lisandro Martinez... eyy."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Lisandro Martinez, Argentina, Football World Cup, Manchester United, Manchester City

Ryan Smart
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