Van Persie misses penalty but makes amends

Robin Van Persie’s eventful start to his Manchester United career continued against Southampton at St Mary’s. A sensational hat-trick didn’t tell the whole story of the match. Van Persie also missed a penalty at a key stage of the game when United were trailing 2-1.

The Dutch striker had attempted a cute Andrea Pirlo type dink into the goal but mishit the shot tamely at the goalkeeper. Embarrassment at the error seemed to drive Van Persie on to secure a late equaliser and even later winner.

A superb header in the second minute of stoppage time completed Van Persie’s hat-trick and secured the three points for United. Perhaps it was a goal inspired by the fear of what Sir Alex Ferguson might have said about that penalty.

"I don’t know what I was thinking with the penalty," Van Persie said. "I wanted to hit it hard like I always do but in the last second I just changed somehow. It wasn’t good enough. It was a bit of a down, I’m disappointed about it. I ask a certain standard from my game. When you’re 2-1 down, you can’t take a penalty like that. It is me to blame.

The manager Alex Ferguson was celebrating his 1000th game in charge. He seemed to have forgiven Van Persie for the penalty miss, but singled out veteran Paul Scholes for praise. "We didn’t start playing until Paul Scholes came on the pitch," he said. "His range of passing, consistency of passing and presence turned the game for us."

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