Manchester United boosted their hopes of finishing in the top four by beating fellow hopefuls Spurs 3-2 this evening at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils came into the game on the back of an embarrassing derby day defeat to Man City, but they got off to the perfect start after 12 minutes when the returning Cristiano Ronaldo fired a lethal dipping strike in from 25 yards out.
Spurs would strike back 10 minutes before the break through their own talisman, Harry Kane. The England skipper making no mistake from the penalty spot after Alex Telles handled in the area.
Just a couple of minutes later and Ronaldo would put his side ahead once again, the Portuguese superstar hitting home from close range after receiving a perfectly weighted pass from Jadon Sancho.
However, instead of kicking on in the second-half United performed poorly and it was no great surprise that Spurs punished their opponents sloppiness by equalizing with 20 minutes left to play. Sadly for the much maligned United skipper Harry Maguire it was also no great surprise to see the centre-back clumsily direct a cut back into his own net.
Ronaldo would have the last laugh though with the 37-year-old rising highest to power home a Telles corner and seal the win for his side.
No player in history has scored more goals for club and country than Cristiano Ronaldo 🐐 pic.twitter.com/ZYVDNcSH6o
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 12, 2022
United move two points ahead of Arsenal into fourth, albeit having played four games more and speaking afterward manager Ralf Rangnick was delighted with the performance levels of both Ronaldo and his teammates.
“[Ronaldo] was also energetic today,” Rangnick told Sky Sports. ”He was part of the whole team when we had to defend, because we had to defend a lot. It was a top performance by him, but also by the rest of the team.
“I didn’t expect him to score three goals, but I expected him to score. That’s why I decided to play him. His training session was so good on Thursday that I decided to start him and not bring him from the bench. I spoke to him before training on Friday and he said his hip flexor was good enough to play.
“Coming back after two goals showed we had the right mentality. We deserved to win. The performance was aggressive enough at least. We showed the desire to win that game. I said before the game, the team who wants it more will be successful.
“I thought we were really good in the first half. We just allowed them moments when they got into our penalty box too easily. Without Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay, it wasn’t easy. It’s a big victory. We had to win today in order to stay in competition for fourth place. It’ll also give us a big boost for the game on Tuesday.
“It’s a challenge with a player like Ronaldo, but he showed today that he still has the quality to play for a club like Manchester United. He also has the quality to be part of the team, and if we want to be successful at the end of the season that’s what we need.”