Friday, December 3, 2021

Atalanta 2-2 Manchester United: Ronaldo rescues Red Devils again in Champions League

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 2 Nov 2021

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Cristiano Ronaldo once again proved Manchester United’s Champions League hero by scoring late on to rescue a crucial 2-2 draw at Atalanta on Tuesday.

The Portugal international completed United’s 3-2 comeback win against the same opponents from two goals down two weeks ago and also struck late on in September’s 2-1 recovery win against Villarreal.

Ronaldo’s latest rescue act arrived in the 91st minute at Gewiss Stadium when volleying in a sublime equaliser, having earlier struck to cancel out Josip Ilicic’s opener before Duvan Zapata put Atalanta back in front.

The draw keeps Old Gunnar Solskjaer’s side top of Group F, level on points with Villarreal and two better off than Atalanta with two group games remaining, meaning their last-16 fate remains in their own hands.

After United had hit the post through a deflected Scott McTominay drive, Atalanta took the lead when Zapata pulled the ball back for Ilicic, whose shot squirmed under David de Gea – the goal allowed to stand after a VAR check for a possible Mario Pasalic offside infringement.

United lost Raphael Varane to injury before half-time, but the introduction of Mason Greenwood paid immediate dividends as he linked up with Bruno Fernandes, who in turn flicked the ball into the path of Ronaldo to fire home his first of the game.

Atalanta restored their lead when Zapata got in behind down United’s right, evaded a sliding challenge from Harry Maguire and finished past De Gea. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but VAR rightly overturned that decision after a two-minute check to determine Zapata was indeed onside.

That left United on the brink of a fourth successive away defeat in the European Cup for the first time ever, only for Ronaldo to once again bail out his side by firing a first-time shot into the bottom-left corner after a loose ball popped up into his path with time almost up.

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