Man United 2-1 Villarreal: 3 Things We Learned From Champions League Comeback Win

REUTERS/Phil Noble

Man United managed to exact revenge of their Europa League final defeat on Villarreal through Cristiano Ronaldo’s 95th-minute winner.

Unai Emery’s side, as they did in Gdansk in May, opened the scoring in the group stage match at Old Trafford.

Paco Alcacer finished the visitors counter-attack by turning in Arnaut Danjuma’s cross past David de Gea just after the break.

Telles equalised seven minutes later to bring United back in the game. Ronaldo saved his best for the last, as he angled home a loose ball to nick a 2-1 comeback win in Group F of the competition.


1. Record-breaking Ronaldo

The Portuguese icon delivered yet again at his favorite stage, scoring his 136th goal in the competition. On Wednesday night, he set in a new all-time Champions League appearance record, overtaking Iker Casillas, who featured 177 times.

The 36-year-old, who also scored in United’s defeat against Young Boys, still remains the most dangerous player for the opposing defences under the lights. However, to win the competition for the sixth time, he’d need more support from his teammates, who struggled against Villarreal for the better part of the 90 minutes.


2. Hero to Villain

In Gdansk, David de Gea’s display in the penalty-shootout was simply disastrous. Tonight in Manchester, he was by far the best player on the pitch.

The 30-year-old made a string of super first-half saves to keep things goalless. After the break, he was let down by his teammates for Paco Alcacer’s opener, but didn’t allow Villarreal to take the lead again, pulling off a double save in the 87th minute.


3. Solskjaer’s Subs

Unai Emery was the better manager on the sidelines for the majority of the game, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decisions ended up having the bigger impact.

The Norwegian didn’t make a change until the 74th minute, but three out of his five changes proved to be decisive.

Edinson Cavani’s non-stop energy put Villarreal’s defence under pressure, leading to Ronaldo’s winner. Fred, introduced in the left-back position, delivered a key cross that Jesse Lingard, another substitute, channelled into the match-winner’s path.