UEFA Europa League: Cristiano Ronaldo scores as Man United win set up group decider
Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return to the Manchester United fold with his 701st career goal to seal a comfortable Europa League win over Sheriff Tiraspol at Old Trafford.
Dropped for last weekend’s trip to Chelsea as punishment for refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham eight days ago, it seemed as though Ronaldo was destined not to score after being handed a starting role by manager Erik ten Hag.
But with nine minutes left, the Portuguese great got his head to a Bruno Fernandes cross. Sheriff keeper Maxym Koval made a low save but as the ball spilled loose, Ronaldo pounced to complete United’s biggest win of the season and extend their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions.
It was a positive end to a difficult week for the five-time Ballon D’Or winner.
And for United, it set up a Europa League group decider with Real Sociedad in Spain next week, when the Premier League side must avenge their defeat on matchday one in order to top the group and avoid a play-off that could pit them against European heavyweights Barcelona, Juventus or Atletico Madrid.
Diogo Dalot put the hosts on their way to victory with a near-post header from Christian Eriksen’s corner a minute before the break.
Substitute Marcus Rashford then headed home Luke Shaw’s left wing cross midway through the second period.