Four games, five goals, two late winners and an injury-time equaliser.
Even by Cristiano Ronaldo’s standards, this is a quite ridiculous Champions League campaign.
Manchester United’s season continues to be a bizarre mix of mad and magical moments, with their defence responsible for the former against Atalanta and Ronaldo yet again the supplier of the latter.
With pressure once again mounting on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – and United at risk of slipping from top of the group to third place and having their last-16 fate taken out of their own hands – the competition’s all-time top scorer delivered.
Ronaldo had already bailed United out once with an equaliser before the break, but he saved the real drama for the 91st minute when he volleyed in from outside the box to level again and earn a 2-2 draw that keeps them top of Group F.
“It was a difficult game but we believed until the end. I helped my team to get one point and I’m so happy,” said Ronaldo. “We never give up. We believe until the end and it’s a good result for us.”
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Ronaldo has scored in all his side’s group games this season, netting late winners against Villarreal and at home to Atalanta, before his double at a lively Gewiss Stadium.
It was his 127th goal in 303 games in all competitions for Manchester United and he becomes the oldest player to score two or more in one game for the club in European competition.
The 36-year-old is also the first player to score in four consecutive Champions League appearances for the club since Ruud van Nistelrooy in April 2003.
“We all have our roles and responsibilities,” said Solskjaer. “He is a leader.
“He does provide those moments. I am sure Chicago Bulls didn’t mind having Michael Jordan. I know votes are coming up, Cristiano is getting better and better for us.”
Speaking to BT Sport, Solskjaer added: “Cristiano is just incredible.
“That’s what he does and if there’s anyone you want the chance – and a difficult chance – to go to in the last minute it is him. His technique on that volley was incredible.”
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