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Garth Crooks claims Aston Villa man impressed the hell out of him

Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that Emi Martinez impressed the hell out of him after the Aston Villa goalkeeper’s antics in the win over Manchester United at the weekend.

What’s the story?

Villa produced a stunning result on Saturday, beating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men 1-0 at Old Trafford.

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It was Kortney Hause who scored the late winner for the Villans. But it was one of his teammates that most were talking about after the game.

Hause was penalised for a handball in his own area shortly after breaking the deadlock.

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Bruno Fernandes picked up the ball. But while Villa’s players protested, Martinez seemed to be telling Cristiano Ronaldo that he should be taking the spot-kick right in front of his countryman.

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The mind games seemed to work a treat. Fernandes sent the ball flying into the stands. And Martinez celebrated with a delightful jig in front of the Stretford End.

For Crooks, it was enough to earn the goalkeeper a spot in his Team of the Week.

“Against Manchester United the Argentine was at his best,” he told BBC Sport.

“I watched in amazement when United were awarded a penalty to see Martinez challenge Cristiano Ronaldo to a duel, daring him, almost taunting him to take the penalty. Fernandes is United’s official penalty taker and missed the spot-kick but the sheer audacity, not to mention the confidence, of Martinez impressed the hell out of me.”

Martinez continues to shine at penalties as Aston Villa secure huge win

Martinez, of course, was one of the revelations of this summer’s Copa America as Argentina went on to win the competition.

His highlight came in the semi-final with Colombia as he saved three spot-kicks in the shootout.

And he is now off to a superb start this term. While he did not save Fernandes’s effort, he can certainly take some credit for his actions beforehand.

Had Fernandes scored, he would have looked foolish. But he has now laid down a marker for any player who gets the opportunity to take a penalty against Villa in future.

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