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Ronaldo, Sancho put Man United in Champions League last 16

VILLARREAL, Spain, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Late objectives from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho had been sufficient to earn an underwhelming Manchester United a 2-0 victory at Villarreal on Tuesday that ensures them a spot in the Champions League knockout levels.

United got here into the competition understanding victory would see them by to the last 16 with one group match left to play, however in Michael Carrick’s first sport as interim supervisor, United seemed shorn of concepts in assault in the Estadio de la Ceramica.

The house facet had a lot the higher possibilities, with United goalkeeper David de Gea bailing his crew out with a number of positive saves, the very best of which denied Manu Trigueros a purpose.

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Out of nowhere, nonetheless, a poor cross from Villarreal keeper Geronimo Rulli that was miscontrolled by Etienne Capoue was then seized upon by Ronaldo, who lofted the ball over the stranded Rulli to present United the lead in the 78th minute.

Ronaldo’s objectives have been essential for United in Europe this season. He scored late winners in opposition to Atalanta and Villarreal in the reverse fixture, whereas additionally netting a leveller in stoppage time at Atalanta in the last match.

The Portuguese ahead bought greater than a serving to hand for this necessary strike, however his end was scientific. He additionally performed a task in the second and clinching purpose, laying the ball into substitute Bruno Fernandes, who fed Sancho to put the consequence past doubt.

The efficiency could have been disappointing, however United bought the job carried out, shifting prime of Group F with 10 factors, three forward of Villarreal, who can not catch Carrick’s facet as a consequence of their inferior head-to-head report.

“It’s massive for our season,” United captain Harry Maguire informed BT Sport. “The last couple of months have been nowhere near good enough. We needed the result for our season and for our fans – we know how tough it’s been for them in recent weeks. We have to make sure this is just the start.”

With the travelling United fans singing the name of the man Carrick replaced – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – in the first half, there was little other action of note to get them too excited.

A Ronaldo header, straight at the goalkeeper, was United’s only shot on target in the half, with De Gea forced into two good saves to deny Trigueros and Yeremi Pino down the other end.

As United continued to sit back, Trigueros forced an even better save from De Gea at the start of the second half, with Villarreal sensing a beleaguered United might be there for the taking.

It took until the 72nd minute for United to put together a real attack of note with Sancho denied by a smart save, before the home goalkeeper’s error changed the course of the match.

“It’s an identical feeling to the Old Trafford sport,” Trigueros said. “Their goalkeeper was in nice kind once more.

“They’ve got a load of good players and if you give gifts away at the back they’ll punish you. Ronaldo creates goals from nothing and we made it easy to him. We played well, but once again we lost.”

Sancho picked an opportune second to attain his first of the season in all competitions, hammering the ball in off the underside of the crossbar to seal an necessary victory for the guests in an in any other case disappointing season.

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Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Toby Davis

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group F - Villarreal v Manchester United - Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain - November 23, 2021 Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts REUTERS/Pablo Morano

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group F - Villarreal v Manchester United - Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain - November 23, 2021 Manchester United's Jadon Sancho celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Pablo Morano

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group F - Villarreal v Manchester United - Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain - November 23, 2021 Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in action with Villarreal's Juan Foyth REUTERS/Pablo Morano

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