Cristiano Ronaldo produced a trademark header in the 81st minute to ensure Manchester United beat Atalanta 3-2 in the Champions League a day after Lionel Messi starred for PSG
United were booed off at half-time by the Old Trafford crowd with the score at 2-0 to the visitors, but came roaring back after the break to win 3-2 in the Champions League.
Marcus Rashford got the ball rolling with a neat finish from Bruno Fernandes’ through ball before Harry Maguire blasted in the equaliser.
Ronaldo then chose his moment to strike, rising highest to produce a trademark bullet header in the 81st minute from Luke Shaw’s pinpoint cross.
The result sent United top of Group F after three games and was vital for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has been under mounting pressure following a poor run of results.
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It was also another feather in the cap for Ronaldo, who moved onto 137 goals in the Champions League and further ahead at the top of the all-time list.
The 36-year-old’s header was a timely intervention for his side, but also in his personal quest for greatness, given his closest rival had netted twice the night before.
Lionel Messi was the matchwinner for Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday evening, scoring twice to down RB Leipzig 3-2 at the Parc des Princes.
Messi’s contribution was similar to Ronaldo’s in many ways, helping PSG come from behind to record much-needed home victory against a dangerous opponent.
The Argentine playmaker made it 2-2 with a neat finish off the inside of the post from Kylian Mbappe’s cut-back and then won it from the penalty spot with an audacious Panenka.
The brace moved Messi onto 123 goals in the Champions League and reassured fans he is back to his best following his summer move from Barcelona to Paris.
Messi may be favourite for the Ballon d’Or, which will be announced on November 29, but Ronaldo’s Champions League goalscoring record is safe for now.
Who will score more goals this season, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? Have your say in the comments section below.
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The Portuguese forward, who now has six goals in eight games for United this season, is 14 strikes ahead of Messi in the competition, although he has played 179 matches to his rival’s total of 152.
Solskjaer took the opportunity to hit back at his star player’s critics in a fiery post-match interview.
“If anyone wants to criticise Ronaldo for attitude and work rate just watch the game today,” he said.
“I said make sure we get the next goal and as long as we did not concede the next goal I knew we’d win the game.”
United ended their two-match winless streak on Wednesday but they will face a tough test in the Premier League on Sunday.
Solskjaer’s side, who are sixth and without a win since September 19, host Liverpool at Old Trafford, with Jurgen Klopp’s side the only unbeaten side level in the league.