Cristiano Ronaldo scoring on his return to the team grabbed the headlines, but an incident in the first half saw winger Antony draw criticism for supposedly showboating by performing his trademark "spin" trick.
With the game still goalless, the Brazilian collected the ball in acres of space, spun through 360 degrees twice and then proceeded to misplace a pass that went directly out for a goal kick.
New hair, same tricks.— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 27, 2022
Antony pulls out his signature at Old Trafford. 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/ZdvjHP3iQV
Predictably, the double spin caused something of a ruckus, as fans on social media and pundits in studios debated whether a player expressing himself on the pitch before giving away possession is a good thing or a bad thing.
Antony's spin might just be the most pointless skill I've ever seen in my life.— Owuraku Ampofo (@_owurakuampofo) October 27, 2022
The Antony 360° spin trick is fascinating. Breath-takingly pointless. Probably not even very difficult to do in the first place. And yet he clearly loves doing it and appears to have no intention of stopping. Remarkable.— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) October 27, 2022
Roy Keane seeing Antony's spin in training pic.twitter.com/KAGDkM70rH— No Context Keane (@NoContextKeaneo) October 28, 2022
"Grow up a bit..." 😳— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 28, 2022
Ian Holloway says THAT Antony skill was "unnecessary nonsense" 🔊🔛 pic.twitter.com/eVRfppv28d
🤷♂️ Jamie: "People have been digging Antony out saying that it's embarrassing- I don't mind it!"— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) October 27, 2022
😳 Jason: "At home to Sheriff in the Europa League. You cost £80m!"@Mrjamieohara1 & @jasoncundy05 disagree on #MUFC's Antony showboating against Sheriff! 🤔 pic.twitter.com/KSjnnsU3qB
It was even pointed out that Antony's spin isn't remotely close to being the most pointless piece of "skill" to have been rolled out by a winger who has played for United, largely thanks to the efforts of one Andrei Kanchelskis.
Antony's spin isn't even the most pointless skill by someone who has played on the right wing for Man Utdpic.twitter.com/CDPfAVbjjr— Adam Hurrey (@FootballCliches) October 27, 2022
When doling out his player ratings for the game, ESPN's very own Rob Dawson awarded Antony a disappointing score of 4/10 after failing to make much of an impact against Sheriff beyond his viral frippery.
Antony has regularly performed the spin and was even made to demonstrate it on his arrival at United over the summer with the club posting an admiring clip across their official social media channels.
Several prominent pundits voiced strong opinions after witnessing the charade against Sheriff, with former United midfielder Paul Scholes quick to denigrate Antony for his fancy footwork by branding the trick "ridiculous." Fellow former United alumni Robbie Savage also lambasted the 720-degree carousel as "embarrassing" while commentating on the game.
However it was also pointed out that Scholes' assessment might have been somewhat clouded by bad memories of South African midfielder Scara Ngobese doing the very same trick directly in front of him during United's preseason friendly against Kaizer Chiefs back in 2008.
This is why Scholes hates that spin by Anthony cause he's been a victim of it when United played in South Africa 😂 https://t.co/chnGclI4c9— andil.99 (@AndileMhlabane) October 28, 2022
Antony was subbed off at half-time against Sheriff though United head coach Erik ten Hag later insisted the switch was pre-planned and more a function of the Brazilian's general lack of impact on the night at Old Trafford.
"I don't have a problem with that [the spin] as long as it's functional," the Dutchman said after the game. "Also from him I demand more -- more runs behind, more often in the box, more followers in and more tempo dribbles, especially, and more playing in the pocket.
Ten Haag explained that Antony was replaced because of a lack of intensity but also vowed to "correct" the flamboyant 22-year-old regarding the right time and place to delve into his trick bag.
"We demand more dominance in this game and when there is a trick like that, it's nice. As long as it's functional, if you're not losing the ball and you're attracting players, then it's okay. But if it's a trick because of a trick, then I will correct him."
Of course, the reaction to Antony's spin has stirred the age-old debate as to where the line stands between genuine flair and needless showboating when it comes to attacking football. Plenty of creative players -- many of them Brazilian -- have made a trick their own throughout the years.
Indeed, we need look no further than Neymar who adopted the "sombrero" (a crafty flick over the ball up and over an opponent's head) at an early age and soon made it his own.
Used by Ronaldo and Ronaldinho among others, the "elastico" or "flip-flap" was a staple of the Brazilian side for many years.
Famed for his dexterity on the ball, Andres Iniesta perfected the "croqueta" -- a quick shift of the ball between his feet that allowed the former Barcelona midfielder to dart through gaps between defenders.
Kerlon's seal dribbles were impressive, but rarely ended well pic.twitter.com/NwR3ryT4rj— James Dart (@James_Dart) May 20, 2020
Perhaps the most infamous of all signature tricks was the "seal dribble" performed by Brazilian forward Kerlon. The ball was flicked up and juggled along on the forehead, usually right up until an irate defender put an overly aggressive stop to proceedings.