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Ronaldo fires at last as Man Utd shoot down Sherriff in Europa League: ‘He needed that goal’

Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo have given timely reminders of their value, with both on target as Manchester United got their Europa League campaign back on track with a 2-0 victory at Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol.

Dutch club Feyenoord also registered their first points in emphatic fashion, crushing Sturm Graz 6-0 in Group F whiler Lazio were hammered 5-1 away at Danish side Midtjylland.

Former Champions League regulars Olympiakos look in danger of early elimination as they went down 3-0 at Bundesliga side Freiburg, for whom Michael Gregoritsch grabbed a brace as they moved top.

United’s Premier League resurgence was interrupted by a lacklustre home defeat against Real Sociedad last week but they responded with a businesslike win in Chisinau where the match was played because of security concerns.

Sancho, surprisingly left out of England’s squad earlier on Thursday, slotted in United’s opener in the 17th minute after a neat turn in the penalty area.

Veteran Ronaldo, given a start by manager Erik ten Hag after being consigned to the bench in the opening weeks of the Premier League season, then tucked away a 39th-minute penalty to claim his 699th club goal.

Sheriff, who downed Real Madrid in the Bernabeu in last season’s Champions League, offered an occasional threat but three-time European champions United were unruffled.

At the end of the game, Ronaldo was, as ever, the centre of attention.

“Ronaldo needed that goal,” Ten Hag said. “Many times he came close [in the season so far], but he wanted that so much. We are happy for him, and the team wanted to bring him a goal. You know that Cristiano will score a penalty.

“It was a difficult start. The opponent played really direct, went for the second balls. And they won too many in the first minutes. But after a certain period we played better.

CHISINAU, MOLDOVA - SEPTEMBER 15: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their team's second goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Sheriff Tiraspol and Manchester United at Stadionul Sheriff on September 15, 2022 in Tiraspol, Moldova. (Photo by Oleg Bilsagaev/Getty Images)

(Photo by Oleg Bilsagaev/Getty Images)

“Then you say we can play between the lines, we got depth to our game, and scored a great goal. Then we took total control of the game.”

They joined Sheriff on three points in Group E with Real Sociedad, who beat United last week, topping the standings on six points after beating Omonia Nicosia 2-1.

Ander Guevara gave the Spaniards the lead but substitute Bruno levelled before Norwegian striker Alexander Sorloth struck the winner in the 80th minute.

Iranian forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh scored twice in Feyenoord’s romp against Sturm Graz to move top of their group on goal difference with each club having three points.

Lazio suffered a humiliating evening at Midtjylland for whom Paulinho opened the scoring and Sory Kaba, Evander, Gustav Isaksen and Erik Sviatchenko were all on target.

It could have been even worse for the Italians with Midtjylland also missing a penalty.

In Group H, Ferencvaros moved top on with six points thanks to a 1-0 home win over Monaco while former European champions Red Star Belgrade went down 2-1 at Trabzonspor and remain without a point after two games. 


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