With a 3-2 victory against Tottenham on Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to form with a hat-trick to keep Manchester United’s prospects of competing in the Champions League next season alive.
Ronaldo had only scored once in his previous ten games, but three spectacular finishes earned United a much-needed three points against a direct opponent. United moves back into fourth place with the win, although they are just two points ahead of Arsenal, who have four games in hand. Tottenham’s chances of finishing in the top four have been further harmed by their fifth loss in eight league games, as they stay in seventh place, five points behind United.
Ronaldo’s second term at Old Trafford has been a letdown, with his dismal form prompting speculation that the 37-year-abilities old’s are dwindling. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was ridiculed for missing United’s hammering in the Manchester derby last weekend, when he flew off to Portugal to rehab a hip injury rather than witness his teammates lose 4-1 at the Etihad.
He was one of five changes to Ralf Rangnick’s starting lineup after that humiliating loss, with Bruno Fernandes the noticeable missing due to sickness. Ronaldo made an immediate impact with a spectacular goal into the top corner from beyond the area after just 12 minutes.
United, on the other hand, were unable to capitalise on their early lead and were instead forced to repeat a pattern seen in past home games this season against tougher opponents. Spurs promptly responded with a goal, only for Ben Davies to be ruled offside and Eric Dier’s header from a corner to be cleared off the line. An equalizer for Tottenham appeared inevitable, and it was handed to them when Alex Telles handled Dejan Kulusevski’s cross for a straightforward penalty. The subsequent spot-kick was hammered home by Harry Kane, who now has six goals in as many games.
United, on the other hand, were back in front after three minutes, courtesy to a historic strike from Ronaldo. He completed his hat-trick by heading home Jadon Sancho’s inviting cross to put the hosts in front for the third time. Because to United’s defensive shortcomings, Ronaldo’s efforts to win the game were in vain, as Spurs dominated the second half. From Kulusevski’s cut-back, Son Heung-min missed a great opportunity.
When Antonio Conte’s team eventually get a second equalizer, it was owing to further anguish for United captain Harry Maguire. Consistent blunders from the England international have been a major factor in his team’s problems this season, as he turned Sergio Reguilon’s cross into his own goal.
Conte yelled for concentration from his players on the sidelines, but they fell prey to Ronaldo’s predatory tendencies once again. Nine minutes from time, the United number seven rose highest to meet Telles’ corner, powering a header into the top corner for his second hat-trick for the club and first since returning to Old Trafford in August.
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 59 career hat-trick
Cristiano Ronaldo becomes the all time top scorer in professional football with 807 carrier goals.