Ronaldo on target as Man United strike late to reach knockout stages

Late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho earned Manchester United a 2-0 victory at Villarreal that guarantees them a spot in the Champions League knockout stages.

United went into Tuesday’s contest knowing victory would see them through to the last 16 with one group match left to play. It was Michael Carrick’s first game as interim manager following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking on Sunday and United looked short of ideas in attack in the Estadio de la Ceramica.

Cristiano Ronaldo puts United ahead at the Ceramica stadium in Spain.Credit:AP

The home side had the better chances, with United goalkeeper David de Gea bailing his side out with several fines saves, the best of which denied Manu Trigueros a goal.

Out of nowhere, however, a poor pass from Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rulli that was miscontrolled by Etienne Capoue was seized upon by Ronaldo, who lobbed the ball over the stranded Rulli to give United the lead in the 78th minute.

As the home side pressed for an equaliser, the visitors countered in the 90th minute with Sancho hammering home to put the game to bed. The victory puts United top of Group F with 10 points, three ahead of Villarreal, who can no longer catch Carrick’s side due to their inferior head-to-head record.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich, missing half a dozen players due to COVID-19 quarantine, edged past Dynamo Kyiv 2-1 to secure top spot in Group E with a game to spare.

First-half goals from striker Robert Lewandowski, who hit a spectacular 14th-minute overhead kick, and Kingsley Coman three minutes from half-time amid heavy snowfall, put the German champions in front.

Dynamo, who are eliminated from the competition, cut the deficit with their maiden group-stage goal through Denys Garmash in the 70th minute.

They then forced Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer to make a fine save and hit the post in stoppage time as they looked for an equaliser.


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