Cristiano Ronaldo scored an injury-time winner for Manchester United as the Red Devils came from behind to beat Villarreal in a dramatic Champions League Group F clash. In a repeat of last season's Europa League final, which Villarreal had won on penalties, Ronaldo took the center-stage this time around with a stoppage-time winner. The Portugese superstar then ran to the corner, took off his shirt and threw it into the air while celebrating.
United had put in a disappointing performance against Villarreal and were heading for a third straight game without victory until Ronaldo intervened. He finished expertly from Jesse Lingard's pass. The game seemed to be heading towards a draw but Ronaldo's late goal handed United all three points. Despite having a difficult angle to shoot at the goal, Ronaldo's effort sneaked in after a touch from the hapless Villarreal goalkeeper. Earlier, United had gone behind to Paco Alcacer’s 53rd-minute opener. But an exquisite volley from Alex Telles helped United equalise.
Watch Ronaldo's goal here:
United goalkeeper David de Gea had made several fine saves before to keep his team in the match as he denied Arnaut Danjuma, Yeremi Pino and Paco Alcacer. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after the game, "That's what happens at Old Trafford, we had to throw caution to the wind and got lucky in the end."
United had lost their opening game of Champions League 2-1 against BSC Young Boys and as a result, the victory against Villarreal put their Champions League campaign back on track. Meanwhile, Villarreal are bottom of Group F with one point.
"We’re annoyed. The game was basically over, we just needed to see it out and we didn’t. We need to learn from this. We were impeccable before that, taking the lead, creating chances, being better than Man United at Old Trafford," Villarreal defender Pau Torres said while expressing his disappointment at the result.
Notably, Ronaldo also set the new record for the most appearances in Champions League with his 178th appearance in the competition on Wednesday evening. He moved one clear of Iker Casillas, who was the previous all-time record holder.