The Manchester United striker responded to the taunts of the soccer world by doing what he does best: scoring goals and winning games.
Van Persie bagged all three goals for United in its 3-2 win over Southampton on Saturday. Sandwiched in between the first and second was a missed penalty kick that had people laughing at the Dutchman’s expense.
It was Van Persie who got United on the board after it fell behind early in the game. He took Antonio Valencia‘s cross off his chest and volleyed it home to tie the score at 1-1 in the 23rd minute.
Southampton again took the lead in the 55th minute, but Van Persie was sharp, lively and full of menace. The Dutchman won the penalty in the 68th minute when he was fouled by Jos Hooiveld, and the equalizer looked like it would be a mere formality.
Van Persie then violated an age-old soccer rule by electing to take a penalty kick that he won himself. For some reason, the soccer gods frown upon such a thing, and they punished the £24million ($38 million) signing in spectacular fashion.
As he ran up to take the kick, he channeled his inner Maicosuel and decided to try the famous “Panenka” penalty. He forgot the most important part. Panenka’s are supposed to go down the center of the goal, but van Persie went left. Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis reached up and batted away the effort.
Van Persie was initially embarrased at the failed penalty, but something came over him as the Southampton (and social media) crowd mocked him in full voice. He didn’t get mad, he got even.
For the second time in the game, he tied the score when he pounced on a rebound in the 87th minute. Van Persie etched his name into United lore by scoring the game-winner in the 92nd minute. He headed Nani‘s corner kick past Davis to clinch the game and a first hat trick in United colors.
The former Arsenal captain has four Premier League goals at this early point in the season, and it looks like he’s up to the task of leading the United attack in the absence of injured star Wayne Rooney.
Watch van Persie’s failed penalty in the video below.