Cristiano Ronaldo’s late winner powers Manchester United to a 2-1 win against Villareal
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer relished the opportunity to take revenge from Unai Emery’s Villareal for the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League final at Old Trafford.
Arnaut Danjuma and Paco Alcacer were repeatedly opening up the much-changed Manchester United defense from their 1-0 loss to Aston Villa with skipper Harry Maguire, the suspended Aaron Wan Bissaka, and the injured Luke Shaw making way for Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot, and Alex Telles.
David de Gea made two brilliant reactionary saves in the first 15 minutes whilst Alcacer missed the target with his low drive on the half-hour mark.
Manchester United created their first notable chance of the evening in the 38th minute after a brilliant pass from Paul Pogba but Cristiano Ronaldo’s tame shot was easily saved. The United goalkeeper made another good save to keep his clean sheet preserved till the half-time break.
After the break, United conceded a cheap goal with the defenders failing to track back in time, and Alcacer was left with a simple finish to open the scoring on the night.
After a Bruno Fernandes effort from distance swirled wide, the Manchester United skipper took a clever free-kick that found Telles outside the penalty box and the Brazilian left-back volleyed the ball in the back of the net scoring his first goal for the club.
United’s blushes were saved in the 85th minute as Villareal substitute Boulaye Dia failed to force the ball in from 4 yards. In injury time, Ronaldo’s pinpoint cross found Jesse Lingard whose effort was well saved by the visiting goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
In the last minute of injury time, Fred’s cross found Ronaldo in the box and the Portuguese skipper played a clever one-two with Lingard before firing his effort past the Argentine goalkeeper who got a fingertip on the ball but wasn’t able to stop the English club from earning their 3 Champions League points at home.
In other UEFA Champions League results of the night, Barcelona was crushed 3-0 by Benfica whilst Bayern Munich smashed 5 goals past the helpless Dynamo Kyiv defense. Juventus got a 1-0 win over defending champions Chelsea whilst Atalanta got a 1-0 win over Young Boys at home to go top of the Group F points table with Manchester United in the third position.