Footy Times

Ronaldo nets hat-trick as Man Utd beat Spurs in thriller

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored a superb hat-trick as Manchester United edged Tottenham 3-2 to move into the Champions League places.

The 37-year-old hit a stunning long-range strike to give them the lead, only his second goal of 2022.

Captain Harry Kane levelled with a penalty following an Alex Telles handball, before Ronaldo converted Jadon Sancho’s cross within a couple of minutes.

Harry Maguire scored an own goal to make the score again level before Ronaldo powered in a header from a Telles corner for his hat-trick and a thrilling victory for Red Devils.

With a hat-trick to keep Manchester United’s chances of competing in the Champions League next season alive with a 3-2 win over Tottenham on Saturday, Cristiano Ronaldo set another goalscoring record in a return to form.

Ronaldo had only scored once in his previous ten games, but three spectacular finishes propelled him to the top of FIFA’s list of professional men’s football goal scorers, with 807 goals for club and country.

United moves back into fourth place with the win, although they are only two points ahead of Arsenal, who have four games in hand.

Tottenham’s chances of finishing in the top four have been further harmed by their fifth defeat in eight league games, as they stay in seventh place, five points behind United.

Ronaldo’s second term at Old Trafford has been a letdown, with his poor form prompting speculation that the 37-year-abilities old’s are dwindling.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was ridiculed for missing United’s hammering in the Manchester derby last weekend, when he jetted off to Portugal to rehab a hip injury rather than witness his teammates lose 4-1 at the Etihad.

He was one of five changes to Ralf Rangnick’s starting lineup following that humiliating loss, with Bruno Fernandes the noticeable missing due to sickness.

Ronaldo made an immediate impact with a spectacular goal into the top corner from outside the area after only 12 minutes.

United, on the other hand, were unable to capitalise on their early lead and were instead forced to repeat a pattern seen in past home games this season against tougher opponents.

Spurs promptly responded with a goal, only for Ben Davies to be flagged offside and Eric Dier’s header from a corner to be cleared off the line.

An equaliser for Tottenham appeared inevitable, and it was handed to them when Alex Telles handled Dejan Kulusevski’s cross for a straightforward penalty.

The resulting spot-kick was hammered home by Harry Kane, who now has six goals in as many games.

United, on the other hand, were back in front after three minutes, thanks to a historic strike from Ronaldo.

According to FIFA’s records, he surpassed Austrian-Czech striker Josef Bican as football’s all-time leading goalscorer by turning home Jadon Sancho’s enticing cross.

Because of United’s defensive shortcomings, Ronaldo’s efforts to win the game were in vain, as Spurs dominated the second half.

From Kulusevski’s cut-back, Son Heung-min missed a glorious chance.

When Antonio Conte’s team eventually get a second equaliser, it was thanks to further anguish for United captain Harry Maguire.

Consistent blunders from the England international have been a major factor in his team’s problems this season, as he turned Sergio Reguilon’s cross into his own net.

Conte yelled for concentration from his players on the sidelines, but they fell prey to Ronaldo’s predatory tendencies once more.

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Nine minutes from time, the United number seven rose highest to meet Telles’ corner, powering a header into the top corner for his second hat-trick for the club and first since returning to Old Trafford in August.

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