Ronaldo on target as Manchester United edge Sheriff

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.

“He kept going and the team kept going to put him in the right position,” said Ten Hag. “He kept going to get himself in the right position. He didn’t give up and I think that’s what he’s done his whole career and in the end he got his reward for it.”

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 – and win by two goals in the process – 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.

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Herman Nnyanzi 'The Analyst' is a Ugandan multimedia sports journalist who started his career in 2017. He has a genuine strong love for sports and expertise, especially football. Contact me on +256704472629 or +256786403603

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