Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Europa League goal to help Manchester United bounce back from a first-round loss in the second-tier competition with a 2-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday.
After Jadon Sancho gave United a 1-0 lead in Moldova, the record scorer for the Champions League scored from the penalty spot. The Portuguese forward’s first goal of the year and 699th in his football career came on this occasion.
“Happy to score and help the team win! 3 important points!” Ronaldo tweeted.
The Portuguese striker was forced to accept playing in the Europa League with Sporting Lisbon for the first time since 2002 after failing to obtain a transfer to a club in the Champions League, where he had scored 141 goals.
Ronaldo made his second consecutive start after appearing as a substitute in United’s previous four Premier League victories. This includes last week’s 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad at Old Trafford.
The Premier League matches from last weekend were postponed in the light of Queen Elizabeth II’s demise.
Due to insufficient police resources in London due to preparations for the queen’s royal funeral, Arsenal, another favorite in the competition, had its match against PSV Eindhoven moved from Thursday to October 20.
Wednesday’s Champions League match between Chelsea and Salzburg went on as scheduled, but the huge contingent of PSV supporters traveling from the Netherlands presented more of a challenge.
Six minutes before halftime, Ronaldo took a penalty shot that went in, sending Sheriff goalkeeper Maxym Koval to his right. After Diogo Dalot was defeated by Patrick Kpozo, it was given out.
In the 17th minute, Sancho scored United’s lone goal after receiving a feed from Christian Eriksen near the edge of the box.
Since UEFA forbade Sheriff from playing there this season as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the game was moved from the tiny Sheriff Stadium in Transnistria, the region’s independent homeland.
It happened at the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau, the nation’s capital and geographic center.
What has Been Said About Cristiano Ronaldo?
Ronaldo pushed for a transfer away from Old Trafford for a significant portion of the summer, but Red Devils manager Erik ten Hag has indicated that the 37-year-old will be completely up to speed in 2022–2023.
Erik ten Hag said: “We could expect this when you miss pre-season so he has to work really hard and invest to get the right fitness then he will score more goals. You can see he is really close. When he gets fitter he will finish them. I think [he is] totally committed to this project and totally committed to this team, totally involved. You see also connections coming around him and he is constructing connections so I am happy with that.”
Although Ten Hag has only started Ronaldo once in a Premier League game so far this season, he was gushing about the forward following the game and claimed he is getting closer to playing a bigger role.
‘Ronaldo needed that goal,’ said the Dutchman. ‘Many times he came close [in the season so far], but he wanted that so much. We are happy for him and the team wanted to bring him a goal. You know that Cristiano will score a penalty.
‘He’s really close, when he gets more fitness he will score more. He’s totally committed to this project, totally involved, he also has connections that are coming around him and he is constructing connections so I’m happy with that.’
Ronaldo This Season
Since other attacking alternatives are preferred this season, Ronaldo has only made one Premier League start. However, he now has his first goal of the season and will be looking to play a bigger role for Ten Hag during the most recent international break.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Sheriff Tiraspol, the 124th team he has scored against overall in all competitions, for the 699th time in his professional career.
Due to the cancellation of two Premier League games due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, United won’t play again until the Manchester derby on October 2 at the Etihad Stadium.