Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Manchester United hat-trick in 14 years as Tottenham were defeated in a thrilling encounter at Old Trafford.
The brilliant Portuguese put United ahead twice before heading home the winner from Alex Telles’ corner nine minutes from time, the 807th goal of his career.
Tottenham twice responded to Ronaldo’s efforts, through a Harry Kane penalty and a Harry Maguire own goal.
But it was Ronaldo who had the final word, completing his first United treble since January 2008, in a 6-0 win over Newcastle.
The result was a better confidence boost for United before Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid.
It also moves them back into the top four and keeps Tottenham in seventh, although Arsenal – two points behind in fifth – remain favorites to clinch the final Champions League berth as they have four games in hand.
The Ronaldo show
The debate around Ronaldo’s value to this United team has been going on since the moment their season started to unravel barely a couple of weeks after his much-heralded return.
At 37, it is clear his best days are behind him.
Yet he remains capable of such moments of brilliance that it is hard to see how this present squad would benefit from him not being there.
His opener was a prime example.
Fred’s deft flick to the side helped considerably but Ronaldo’s two precise touches teed up the right-footed shot that flew over Hugo Lloris and into the top corner.
The second was further evidence of Ronaldo’s ability to exploit weakness. He timed his run to perfection as Jadon Sancho made the most of Sergio Reguilon’s struggles within the Tottenham defensive line to deliver the low cross that his vastly experienced team-mate turned home with ease.
And if anyone was likely to get a winner, it was United’s number seven.
When he did, Ronaldo was immediately replaced to a standing ovation that was totally deserved.
More to follow.
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- 1of Gea
- 31maticSubstituted forCavaniat 80′minutes
- 17FredBooked at 35mins
- 10RashfordSubstituted forElangaat 68′minutes
- 6PogbaBooked at 85mins
- 7Cristiano RonaldoSubstituted forLindelofat 83′minutes
- 29Wan Bissaka
- fifteenDierBooked at 30mins
- 33DavisSubstituted forBergwijnat 87′minutes
- 30BentancurSubstituted forwinksat 88′minutes
- twenty-oneKulusevskySubstituted forLucas Moraat 78′minutes
- 7Son Heung Min
- 6D Sanchez
- 27Lucas Mora
Match ends, Manchester United 3, Tottenham Hotspur 2.
Second Half ends, Manchester United 3, Tottenham Hotspur 2.
Foul by Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur).
Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Harry Winks replaces Rodrigo Bentancur.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Steven Bergwijn replaces Ben Davies.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).
Substitution, Manchester United. Victor Lindelof replaces Cristiano Ronaldo.
Goal! Manchester United 3, Tottenham Hotspur 2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) header from the center of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Alex Telles with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester United. Granted by Sergio Reguilón.
Substitution, Manchester United. Edinson Cavani replaces Nemanja Matic.
Substitution, Tottenham Hotspur. Lucas Moura replaces Dejan Kulusevski.
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alex Telles (Manchester United).
Corner, Manchester United. Grant by Hugo Lloris.
Attempt saved. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) right footed shot from the center of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jadon Sancho.
Foul by Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham Hotspur).
Anthony Elanga (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
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