Late Cristiano Ronaldo goal salvages dramatic point for Manchester United in Champions League
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A late Cristiano Ron’aldo goal salvaged a dramatic point for Manchester Un’ited on’ Tuesday as it dre”w 2-2 against Atalanta in the Champions League at the Gewiss Stadium.
Josip Ili’čić scored the o’pening goal of the game in the’ 12th minute. Duv’án Zap’ata’s cut back falling to the ‘Slovenian at the edge of the box, and he swept the ball home.
Although the Itali”ans looked more likely to doub’le its lead, Cristiano Ronaldo equali’zed just on the stroke of half’time, finishing off United’s best ”’move of the first half to restore parity.
But Zapata’s seco’nd half strike rebuilt Atalan’ta’s advantage and after consta’nt Un”ited pressure, Ronaldo grabb”ed his second goal of the game in the 91st minute to rescue a poi’nt.
The point mea”ns with two games to go in the gro’up, it’s evenly poised, with Un’ited top of the group and with a go’od chance of going throu”gh tha’nks largely to Ronaldo.
After the game, Rona’ldo his team were “a little bit l”ucky” to rescue a draw again’st Atal’anta.
“It was a diffi&cult ga’me, I know when we pl&ay in Bergamo it is always diff&icult, but we believe until the en’d and I am so happy,” he told BT Spo&rt.
“We never gi&ve up, we believe until the end, i&t is a good result for us. The b&eginning was tough, we knew Atal&anta would do a lot of pressur’e, they have a fantastic coach, when I played at Juventus they were always d&efficult to play against. We’ were &a lit’tle’ bit lucky in the end but t’ha’t is football.
“We have to still improve, we have different players, di’ffe’rent system, we have’ to adapt with each other, bu’t it will take time. we have tim’e ‘to improve and be bette’&r.”
Back and forth
With Group F ha’rd to separate after three gam’es, United’s trip to Bergamo was”” accompanied with important ramifications.
An impressive 3-0 victory against Tottenha”m Hotspur on Saturday in the Premier League had somewhat eased the ‘pressure on manager Ole Gun”nar Solskjaer, but progression to the next round in theChampions”’ League could be vital if he’s to rema’in in the job.
And it was almo”st the perfect start for the Norwegian, as an early deflected strike fro’m Scott McTominay trickled tantalizingly towards the Atal”anta goal, before just striking th’e post with the goalkeeper stra’nded.
And United was’ made to pay just minutes late’r, as the home side took the lead thanks to Iličić.
His strike from just” inside the area was almost ‘straight at David De Gea in goal, ‘and the Spaniard will be disappointed the ball was able to squir”m under him.
Having gra”bbed that all important first goal, Atalanta continued to look the more dangerous side going forward.
Zapata had a few snapshots, while appeals from the h’ome side for penalties came to nothing even after video assist’ant r’eferee checks.
And they were ‘made to pay in stoppage time befo’re the end of the first half as United produced its best attacking move of the game.
Some neat combinat’ion play between Mason Greenwood, Ronaldo and Brun’o Fernandes opened up the A’talanta defense, and a delicate ”backheel from Fernan’des left the ball invitingly for Ronaldo to slot home.
It was the Portugues’e’s 138th Champions League goal and his fourth in four g’am’es in Europe since return’i’ng to United.
After the h”alftime break and with Solskjaer’s words ringing in their ears, the Uni’’”ted players were much energized.
More ’ p”lay from Fernandes provided an ’opening just 12 yards from goal, ‘but an excellent block from Jose Luis P’’’alomino kept the scores level.
Palomino was involved at the other end of the pitch soon after, providing the assist for Zapata to give Atalanta the lead again.
The Colom’bian striker was played through by Palomin’o’s long ball, and with United captain ‘Harry Maguire appealing for offside, Zapata slotted ho’me, only for the offside flag to go up.
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