Manchester United winger Anthony Elanga has been targeted with racist social media messages after Friday’s FA Cup fourth-round defeat by Middlesbrough.
Elanga, 19, missed the crucial penalty as United lost 8-7 in a shootout after a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
The abuse was highlighted by Aberdeen striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who tweeted screenshots with the caption “so easy to predict”.
The offensive messages were removed.
A spokesperson for Meta, Instagram’s parent company, said it was “in direct contact” and “supporting” Elanga and that it had “worked quickly to remove abusive comments” from Elanga’s account and “will continue to take action on anything that breaks our rules”.
The spokesperson said: “No-one should have to experience racist abuse on social media and we don’t tolerate it on our apps,” adding Meta is continuing to work with the industry and government to prevent abuse.
Jadon Sancho scored the opening goal on his FA Cup debut to put United ahead after Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty.
Former United youngster Matt Crooks scored a controversial equaliser for Middlesbrough, tapping home from close range despite Duncan Watmore handling the ball in the build-up.
With the shootout tied after 14 penalties, Elanga struck his penalty over the crossbar.
The Swedish teenager was consoled by several players on the pitch – including Ronaldo, Phil Jones and captain Harry Maguire – and on social media following the miss.
After the game, Rashford was quick to send a message of support to Elanga on social media, tweeting: “Anthony Elanga.Get that head of yours up immediately.”
View more on twitter United goalkeeper David de Gea, who was rested as Dean Henderson played, also offered support to Elanga.
View more on twitter Speaking to BBC Match of the Day after the game, United interim manager Ralf Rangnick said Elanga was “shattered and absolutely disappointed”.
He added: “We will try to encourage him again, be there for him and it can happen to more experienced players.”
Manchester United’s Anthony Elanga is comforted by Cristiano Ronaldo after his penalty miss.