Rasmus Højlund has accused San Marino players of trying to “destroy” his career through a series of tackles designed to injure the Manchester United striker.
The Dane was subject to relentless fouls by the opposition, culminating in a dreadful tackle by Roberto Di Maio in the final few minutes of a hotly-contested match.
The San Marino played kneed Højlund in the back without any attempt to play the ball, as pictured below.
(Picture from Manchester Evening News)
After the match, Højlund spoke about the incident in an interview with TV2.
“The last duel had nothing to do with football. It ended up being laughable in the end,” the striker asserted. “Such a duel must not just turn into a yellow card. It’s a knee in the back – straight red card if you ask me.”
“I can’t say much other than that I think they are the ones who started, and then the game just went on. They took it to the next level because they have nothing to lose. They thought: ‘Well, fine enough, we might as well try to destroy the career’.”
This angry assessment was shared by Højlund’s team-mate, and captain, Simon Kjær, who was incensed by the San Marino players.
“I said in the end that it is a clear red card against Hojlund, because it is 100 per cent deliberate – and I think that there has been a situation with Neymar. Exactly the same when he gets a knee in the spine, where he actually breaks his back.”
Kjær even revealed he had overheard the San Marino players discussing how to target Højlund.
“It’s dangerous, and they are right next to it,” he added. “After all, I told him [the referee] right on the pitch that now they are going after his knees after the situation down there. I also said to the referee ‘do you want me to translate now?‘ We also have VAR. You can see all the way down from behind that he is doing it 100 percent deliberately.”
It was the United striker who had the last laugh, however, opening the scoring with an emphatic finish to help Denmark ultimately win 2-1.
vs San Marino
FotMob rating: 7.4
Playing time: 89 minutes
Participating position: CF
Number of touches: 38 times
Number of goals: 1
Number of shots: 3
Accurate number of passes (probability): 12/16 times (75%)
Number of dribbles (probability): 1/3… pic.twitter.com/uNRjsWKDXN
— Red Glory TV (@RedGloryTV) October 18, 2023
Højlund was even awarded the Man of the Match award for his efforts. Well-deserved from a variety of perspectives.