Ronaldo saves Manchester United again with dazzling last-gasp header against Atalanta

October 25, 2021
Ronaldo saves Manchester United again with dazzling last-gasp header against Atalanta

Cristiano Ronaldo saved Manchester United again in the Champions League.

The greatest scorer in the competition’s history soared to head in an 81st-minute winner as United erased a two-goal halftime deficit to beat Atalanta 3-2 in a wild match at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Ronaldo’s record-extending 138th goal in the Champions League came three weeks after he scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to snatch a victory over Villarreal in the second round of games.

United did it the hard way again after falling 2-0 behind following goals by Mario Pašalić in the 15th minute and Merih Demiral in the 29th. The team was jeered off the field after the halftime whistle.

However, United showed a different side in the second half, laying siege to Atalanta’s goal as Marcus Rashford reduced the deficit in the 53rd with a calm finish following a stunning outside-of-the-foot through ball by Bruno Fernandes.

Harry Maguire swept in the equalizer in the 75th and Ronaldo got on the end of a cross by Luke Shaw for the winner.

The Portugal striker made a last-ditch clearance in the final seconds and then fell to his knees at the final whistle.

United moved into first place in Group F, two points above Villarreal and Atalanta.

Bayern stays perfect minus Canada’s Davies, coach

Bayern Munich kept up its winning start to the Champions League as Leroy Sane scored twice in a 4-0 win over Benfica on Wednesday, but coach Julian Nagelsmann wasn’t there to see it.

Bayern didn’t open the scoring until the 70th minute after two disallowed goals, but once Sane had put Bayern in front, Benfica crumbled.

The win puts Bayern five points clear of Benfica at the top of Group E with 12 goals scored and none conceded, and helps third-place Barcelona, now just one point off a qualifying spot following its 1-0 victory over Dynamo Kyiv earlier Wednesday.

Just over an hour before kickoff, Bayern said Nagelsmann had “a flu-like infection,” leaving assistants Dino Toppmöller and Xaver Zembrod to oversee the game. Canadian midfielder Alphonso Davies was pulled with an apparent injury in the 40th minute of a 5-1 Bayern Munich victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.

Davies was absent from Bayern’s Champions League lineup on Wednesday.

Chelsea strikers suffer injury in impressive win 

Injuries to strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner marred Chelsea’s impressive 4-0 win over Malmo in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Lukaku appeared to hurt his right ankle getting fouled for a penalty that was converted by Jorginho for the second goal in the 21st minute, adding to the opener volleyed in by Andreas Christensen in the ninth minute. The Belgium international initially tried to play on but before long was signaling to be substituted.

Werner, the strike partner of Lukaku, then had to come off with an apparent hamstring injury just before halftime at Stamford Bridge.

Kai Havertz came on as the replacement for Lukaku and lifted a deft finish over the goalkeeper for the third goal in the 48th minute at the end of a breakaway led by fellow substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Juventus preserves winning start

Substitute Dejan Kulusevski scored late as Juventus won 1-0 at Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday to preserve its perfect start to the Champions League.

Kulusevski headed in the only goal of the match four minutes from time as Juventus added to its wins against Malmo and Chelsea.

Juventus remained top of Group H. Massimiliano Allegri’s side is three points above Chelsea, which beat Malmo 4-0 in the other group match. Zenit is six points behind Juventus with Malmo on zero points.

Barcelona fights off early elimination 

It took one of Barcelona’s veterans to keep the Catalan club from facing an early elimination in the Champions League.

Gerard Pique’s first-half goal equaled a Champions League scoring mark for defenders and helped Barcelona edge Dynamo Kyiv 1-0 on Wednesday to end its losing streak and get back in position to advance to the knockout stage of the European competition.

Pique scored his 16th Champions League goal to secure the crucial win for Barcelona, which had opened with consecutive 3-0 losses to Bayern Munich and Benfica and was in danger of not getting past the group stage for the first time since 2000-01.

The victory put the Catalan club in third place in Group E, two points in front of Dynamo and one behind Benfica.

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