United fans had a reason to smile after last week’s humiliating defeat to rivals, Manchester City as Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the team and scored a hat trick to help United to a first victory in March.
United started brightly with Ralf Rangnick making four alterations to the 11 that started away to City last weekend. Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Diego Dalot, and Nemanja Matic came on while Bruno Fernandes was absent with Covid.
Ronaldo had a shot blocked by Eric Dier’s arm in the 10th minute but United players’ effort to protest the handball was turned down by the VAR as referee Jonathan Moss continued the game.
Two minutes later, the host got on the score sheet spectacularly through a long-range shot from Ronaldo from Fred’s pass.
Heung-Min Son failed to find an equaliser as his effort got blocked in the 16th minute.
Another moment to restore parity was thwarted as Son’s through ball found Ben Davies in an offside position in the 18th minute.
Harry Kane eventually levelled from the spot for Antonio Conte’s side after Jonathan Moss punished United for a handball by Alex Telles in the 34th minute.
Four minutes after conceding the equaliser, Ronaldo restored United’s lead with a tap-in from Jadon Sancho’s pass.
According to Opta; “37+ Cristiano Ronaldo has become just the third player aged 37 and over to score more than once in a Premier League game after Teddy Sheringham (once) and Graham Alexander (twice). Restored.”
The first half ended with a 2-1 lead from United.
The second half began with more intensity from the visitors. Son’s effort went sideways off the post in the 61st minute.
Ronaldo’s chance to score a hattrick was thwarted by goalkeeper Lloris after the forward failed to utilise a clear chance from Sancho in the 68th minute.
Tottenham came back into the game after Harry Maguire sent Sergio Reguilon’s cross into his own net in the 72nd minute.
But Ronaldo once again proved his relevance on the pitch after the striker headed an Alex Telles corner into the Tottenham net in the 81st minute.
“49 – Cristiano Ronaldo (37y & 35d) has scored the 49th hat-trick of his club career, while he becomes the second-oldest player in Premier League history to net a treble after Teddy Sheringham in August 2003 (37y & 146d). Speechless.”
In other games earlier in the day, Liverpool kept up the pressure on Manchester City with a straightforward 2-0 win away to Brighton. Luis Diaz scored his second goal for Liverpool and Mohamed Salah scored his 20th league goal from the spot.
Ivan Toney continued his splendid form and scored twice in the 2-0 win over relegation-threatened Burnley.
Toney headed in from a fine Christian Eriksen cross in the 85th minute and added his second from the spot in the fourth minute of added time. Brentford now have 31 points, nine clear of the relegation places with nine matches left in the season.
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