Ronaldo scores in Man United return after disciplinary cut

MANCHESTER, England– In the end, it was a routine 3-0 win for Manchester United against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on Thursday evening.

Goals from Diogo Dalot, Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo secured the result in Ronaldo’s first return leg since being ruled out by coach Erik ten Hag.

– Report: Man United Sheriff | Europa League table | Upcoming appointments

The result keeps Man United on course to get through the Europa League.

ESPN’s Rob Dawson has reactions and analysis from Old Trafford.

GO TO: Player Ratings | Best/worst performance | Highlights and Notable Moments | Quotes after the game | Key Statistics | Upcoming appointments

Fast reaction

1. Man United advance and prepare for showdown with Real Sociedad

Manchester United were expected to beat FC Sheriff and they did, with a result guaranteeing passage to the Europa League knockout rounds – but the final round of the group stage and the trip to Real Sociedad next week are yet to come.

Spain’s 2-0 win over Omonia Nicosia means United will go to San Sebastian in second place in Group E, three points adrift. Win by at least two clear goals and Man United manager Erik ten Hag’s team will top the group and go straight into the last 16. Anything else and they’ll have to face a round of 16 draw against a team eliminated from the Champions League. As things stand, that could be Barcelona, ​​Juventus, Atletico Madrid or Sevilla.

Ten Hag will want to avoid extra games that will further overload an already packed schedule, and meeting one of the European heavyweights risks further Europa League progress – a contest that could see United into next season’s Champions League if they do one Missing out on Premier League top 4.

Expect Ten Hag to pick another strong team in Spain next week and do whatever they can to take top spot in the group.

2. Ronaldo finally gets his goal on the return to the team

Ronaldo was thrown straight back into the team by Ten Hag after being ruled out of the Chelsea draw for disciplinary reasons and on another day he could have marked his return with a hat-trick. Instead, he finally scored his only goal in the 80th minute – his first at Old Trafford since May.

By the time the 37-year-old scored his goal on Thursday, the 37-year-old had already seen a header go inches over the bar, goalkeeper Maksym Koval footing off another close-range shot and then a second-half volley before him went into the net immediately ruled out for offside. It was at that last point that Ronaldo let his frustration boil over – he took the ball out of the goal and shot it up into the Stretford End.

When a late free-kick hit the Sheriff’s wall and rebounded to a throw-in, it looked like Ronaldo was in for another fruitless night, but seconds later he ran away to celebrate the club’s No. 701 career goal. His header from Bruno Fernandes’ cross was saved well by Koval, but Ronaldo was quickest in the box to smash the rebound.

Whether or not these are the final acts of Ronaldo’s second stint at United, he is still more than capable of scoring at the highest level.

3. Garnacho shines in debut

Much is expected of Alejandro Garnacho, the 18-year-old forward signed from Atletico Madrid in 2020 and he showed against FC Sheriff that the excitement is justified.

In his first United start, the teenager gave Renan Guedes a hot time – flying past the Sheriff full-back as early as 14 minutes to create a chance for Ronaldo. Midway through the second half, Guedes got so fed up with seeing Garnacho rush by that he had to knock him down and take a yellow card.

There is plenty of competition for spots in Old Trafford’s attacking positions but Garnacho has done enough to show he deserves opportunities to impress. Anthony Martial is still out through injury while Jadon Sancho, on the bench against Sheriff, is struggling for form and Garnacho should have more chances before half-time with five games left in the World Cup.

From his first start as a senior, he looked a lot more dangerous and direct than Sancho had looked for a while.

Ten Hag will need to carefully guide the Argentina youth international given his age but at least he has proven he can perform on the big stage.

Player Ratings

Man United: De Gea (7), Dalot (8), Malacia (7), Lindelof (7), Martinez (7), Casemiro (7), Eriksen (7), Fernandes (7), Antony (4), Garnacho (8) , Ronaldo (7).

Subtitle: Maguire 6, Rashford 7, Shaw 7, McTominay 6, Van de Beek 6.

FC Sheriff: Koval 6, Guedes 5, Kpozo 5, Kiki 6, Radeljic 6, Diop 6, Kyabou 6, Mudasiru 6, Rasheed 5, Badolo 5, Atiemwen 5.

Subtitle: Hatman 6, Pernambuco 6.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Alejandro Garnacho, Manchester United

The 18-year-old looked very handsome in his first senior start for United and impressed.

WORST: Antony, Manchester United

The Brazilian did nothing to Sheriff FC and was substituted at half-time.

Highlights and notable moments

Manchester United finally broke through just before half-time thanks to Diogo Dalot scoring his first goal in European competition for the club.

Christian Eriksen deflected a corner kick into the box and Dalot headed it past goalkeeper Maksym Koval.

Marcus Rashford then doubled Man United’s lead in the 65th minute.

The team pinged the ball around before a cross from Luke Shaw found Rashford’s head.

After trying all night and getting close in the first half without Koval’s save, Cristiano Ronaldo finally scored himself in the 80th minute.

His header was blocked by Koval, but Ronaldo put it through for a tap.

After the game: What the players and coaches said

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag asked if Antony’s half-time substitution was a reaction to his showing off: “No. It was more or less planned when we’re up there. I wanted to see Marcus Rashford and Cristiano Ronaldo close together and the momentum on the right.”

Ten Hag on Ronaldo’s performance: “Seeing Ronaldo score his goal was great. He created the team for him and we know he has the ability to finish it. He needed a goal and now I’m confident he needs more will score.”

Marcus Rashford on next game against Real Sociedad: “We have to go there and score with two goals. We have to score goals but defend well. It’s going to be a tough game but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Important statistics


Manchester United: The Red Devils return to the Premier League on Sunday October 30 when they host West Ham United at 12:15pm ET. They then switch back to the Europa League when they travel to San Sebastián, Spain, to take on Real Sociedad on Thursday 3 November.

Sheriff Tiraspol: That The Moldovan side resume their Europa League run on Thursday, November 3, hosting Omonia Nicosia. Ronaldo scores in Man United return after disciplinary cut

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