There are some things that will never get old, no matter how often they happen or how much you hate the team doing it. Two of those things are volleys off set pieces and Cristiano Ronaldo taking his shirt off to celebrate a goal. Both happened on Wednesday at Old Trafford.
Alex Telles struck the sweetest volley and Ronaldo scored a late, late winner as Manchester United rallied past Villarreal 2-1 on Wednesday. Ronaldo’s winner, his fifth goal already this season, came in the 95th minute to save United’s hide when it looked, at least for a little while, like the Red Devils might remain stuck on the bottom of Champions League Group F.
Paco Alcácer put Villarreal ahead in the 53rd minute only for Telles to equalize seven minutes later. With United desperately pushing for a winner, including the introductions of Fred and Jesse Lingard in the 89th minute, the famous No. 7 stepped up.
Fred, a defensive midfielder playing as left back, crossed to Ronaldo, who headed it toward Lingard. The ball bounced right back to Ronaldo and the all-time leading scorer in men’s Champions League history knew just what to do.
Cristiano Ronaldo Goal vs Villarreal
CRISTIANO RONALDO. IN THE 95TH MINUTE. FTW. pic.twitter.com/rYqW2gzcqo
Another stunning winner from the Champions League GOAT.
Off went the shirt, another yellow card no one in Manchester red will mind, though there was a question of offside. Lingard was close to being offside while blocking the view of the goalkeeper, but the VAR upheld the goal and United had its first Champions League win since beating İstanbul Başakşehir on Nov. 24, 2020.
Incredibly, this was Ronaldo’s 12th Champions League goal after the 90th minute, twice his next closest rival (Messi with six). It came on the day he passed Iker Casillas for most Champions League appearances of all time (178) while padding to his UCL goals record (136).
The old man’s still got it.
36 - Cristiano Ronaldo (36y 236d) is the second oldest Man Utd player to score a goal in European competition at Old Trafford after Bryan Robson (36y 282d) vs Galatasaray in 1993. Clutch. pic.twitter.com/LkZf1UTFwd— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 29, 2021
Manchester United vs Villarreal Highlights
In the first half, David de Gea stood on his head to keep things level. The United keeper finished with six saves but couldn’t keep out this effort from the tip of Paco Alcácer’s toe in the 53rd minute.
Villarreal hit Man Utd on the counterattack pic.twitter.com/pMg1LH7pVD
The Villarreal lead didn’t last long. Awarded a free kick deep in the attacking third, Bruno Fernandes teed up Telles for a supreme strike to equalize.
WHAT A WAY TO SCORE YOUR FIRST MAN UTD GOAL. ALEX TELLES. pic.twitter.com/Cs00EMeL6c
Those goals set the stage for the late dramatics from Ronaldo, which ended a run of three defeats from the last four, including a 2-1 setback against AFC Young Boys in the Champions League opener.