Man United 2-1 Villarreal: Cristiano Ronaldo marks Champions League record appearance with late winner

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his record 178th Champions League appearance with a stoppage time winner as Manchester United came from behind to beat Villarreal 2-1 at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo’s 95th-minute effort earned United a much-needed three points after Alex Telles’ sensational hit had cancelled out Paco Alcacer’s opener.

Just four months on from the penalty shoot-out loss to Unai Emery’s side in Gdansk, the sides met again with the Red Devils needing to make up for their shock defeat at Young Boys in the Group F opener.

A disjointed United were staring down the barrel of a third straight home defeat in all competitions when Alcacer deservedly put Villarreal ahead.

But Telles’ sublime volley gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side hope and Ronaldo secured a 2-1 win in stoppage time, sending Old Trafford wild on the night he broke Iker Casillas’ all-time Champions League appearances record.

It was a relief to all those connected with United, after David De Gea had to produce some superb saves to keep Villarreal at bay in a one-sided first half.

The Spaniards continued to threaten after the break and finally capitalised on the hosts’ issues defending down the right early in the second period, with Alcacer turning home the impressive Arnaut Danjuma’s cross.

United levelled in stunning fashion soon after with Telles’ rocket from a smart Bruno Fernandes free-kick, but both sides looked to have blown glorious chances to win.

Yet, just as the match looked set to end level, Ronaldo struck in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time, meeting a smart Jesse Lingard touch with an unerring finish from an acute angle.

Additional reporting by PA.

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