(Manchester United 3-2 Atalanta) Manchester United “almost” had to win to keep the dream of more Champions League games alive. Against Villarreal, Cristiano Ronaldo became the great hero. But it was far away. Again.
1 of 7Photo: Martin Rickett / PA Wire
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With their 137th goal in the world’s most prestigious tournament, Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester United turned their defeat into victory in a masterful eight minutes before the end.
– He always has the main role in the “theater of dreams”! This is the classic Cristiano Ronaldo, shouted TV 2 commentator Øyvind Alsaker as the Portuguese nailed the ball into the net at 3-2.
– What a bad mood I was here at halftime. Without playing great football, they come back. And of course it’s Cristiano Ronaldo who does it, added full-time side commentator Brede Hangeland.
After a nightmare of dimensions start, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Manchester United did what they usually do in pressure situations. They fought back. First, Marcus Rashford cut to 1-2 minutes after the break, then captain Harry Maguire tied with the quarter round to play. When Cristiano Ronaldo crowned his comeback, he assured that the hope of more Champions League matches lives on in the red part of Manchester to a very high degree.
But for a long time it looked bleak.
Atalanta had a lot of ball initially. Without having created the greatest opportunities, the guests suddenly played terribly easily when 16 minutes had passed.
A well-placed corner kick from Davide Zappacosta was followed by a hard but accurate header from Mario Pasalic. One touch, the 0-1 was a done deal.
– Here’s an individual defensive game that doesn’t look like anything, concluded TV 2’s Simen Stamsø-Møller as they went through the scoreboard during the break.
The home team controlled most of the backhand, but it didn’t work out. And the pain would soon get worse.
13 minutes later, Manchester United fans at Old Trafford could hardly believe their eyes. Midfielder Merih Demiral had to climb almost unhindered on a corner kick, and was able to stab easily in the second match for the Italians.
Dissatisfaction began to spread rapidly in the stands after 0-2, and for every mistake or support, the frustration became clearer.
– It is very easy to stand inside five meters to reach the goal. Manchester United can thank themselves again, Stamsø-Møller said of setback number two.
Then came the gift package that Manchester United really needed. They all thought. In first-half extra time, striker Demiral missed the ball, sending Marcus Rashford only through goalkeeper Juan Musso. The crossbar wanted it to be different, and when party leader Szymon Marciniak blew at halftime, Old Trafford responded with a bagpipe concert against Ole Gunnar Solskjær and his men.
It was therefore a formidable task that awaited the Norwegian at halftime. Statistics during the break also showed that guests had had the ball for more than 60 percent of the time in the first half.
But they only had to wait seven minutes before hope was kindled. Rashford, who had a lot of cane before the break, was played wonderfully by Bruno Fernandes. This time, the star of the English team was not wrong alone with Musso, and so they agreed again.
Then Old Trafford really came to life. Four minutes later, Scott McTominay hit the post from close range. An equalizer was in the air. A strong double save by David de Gea with 20 minutes left on the clock, allowed Harry Maguire to put the ball into the net to 2-2 five minutes later.
Thus, everything was ready for another Cristiano Ronaldo moment at Old Trafford. The 3-2 came eight minutes before the end. Thus, Manchester United is six points in group F. That means leading the table, two points ahead of the rival tonight.