Solskjaer hails De Gea, Ronaldo qualities after ‘magical’ Villarreal win
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said David De Gea played like he was the best goalkeeper in the world to keep Manchester United in their Champions League tie against Villarreal before Cristiano Ronaldo popped up with the decisive goal to seal a late 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
Manchester United have won in emphatic style in the Champions League at Old Trafford tonight, beating Villarreal 2-1. United started the game on the front foot and it looked like it could be a dominant, energetic performance from the Reds who had something to prove after Villarreal beat them on penalties in their last meeting – the Europa League final.
However, it was the visitors who began to pose the real threat of scoring first with a series of chances that should have seen them ahead if it wasn’t for David De Gea’s heroics. Diago Dalot was struggling to contain Arnaut Danjuma who had a great chance in the opening ten minutes only to be denied by De Gea.
Later on in the half, a well-worked corner landed perfectly for Alberto Moreno who fired it over the bar. It was another warning shot for United that they failed to heed. United didn’t look like a cohesive outfit as De Gea was called into action once more before the half was over. Not much changed in the second half as Villarreal made the breakthrough in the 54th minute with a strike from Alcácer finding the back of the net.
Going behind must have motivated Manchester United as they levelled things up in the 60th minute with a beautifully worked, training ground free-kick routine as Fernandes lifted it to Telles who struck it from outside the box on a half volley, finding the bottom corner. From that point on, it was United who had chance after chance but they squandered most of them. As injury time approached it looked like Villarreal were heading for their eighth draw in nine games in all competitions, however, the story wasn’t quite over.
Edinson Cavani won the ball, Fred crossed it into the box and a fantastic, quick thinking cut-back from Jesse Lingard, who had replaced Greenwood in the 89th minute, set the ball up perfectly for Ronaldo deep into injury time. The emotion was tangible as Ronaldo pulled his shirt off and Ole celebrated jubilantly with his staff.
After what felt like an age, VAR confirmed the goal stood and a few seconds after the restart the referee blew the final whistle. For a neutral, it was a thrilling match, for the fans it was a tense match-up that was won in the most satisfying way.
Alcacer (53′), Telles (60′), Ronaldo (90′ + 5′)