Cristiano Ronaldo scores hat-trick as United wins
Cristiano Ronaldo scored yet another hat-trick in three Premier League games as Manchester United beat relegation-threatened Norwich at Old Trafford to enhance their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Ronaldo appeared to found a place for United in command when he scored twice in the first 32 minutes, knowing that a win would put them within three points of the top four.
However, poor defense from the bottom team both before and after the break allowed Norwich to equalize through Kieran Dowell and Teemu Pukki. Dean Smith’s side appeared the more likely winners for an amount of time.
However, 14 minutes from time, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a free-kick screamer home off the inside of a post to secure victory after Ralf Rangnick had disowned his brave plan of playing without a proper ball-winner in midfield and replaced Paul Pogba with Juan Mata.
Only Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min have scored more goals in the Premier League this season than the 37-year-old. Ronaldo has also scored 99 Premier League goals in his career.
If United beat Liverpool on Tuesday, they will be equal on points with fourth-placed Spurs.
The Major blow for Norwich was the outcome of this game that wiped off the faintest hopes of avoiding relegation. They are just
Cristiano Ronaldo becomes the savior again
Is Cristiano Ronaldo the reason or the solution to United’s problems? It’s a problem without a solution, but it’s one that keeps being discussed.
He was unmistakably the latter on this occasion.
For his first goal, he didn’t have to put in much effort. As Norwich attempted to carry the ball forward from a goal-kick, Ben Gibson was dispossessed in his own penalty area, allowing Anthony Elanga to assist Ronaldo, who scored the goal the first time.
Ronaldo’s second was one of his soaring headers, this time reaching the highest point to reach Alex Telles’ corner and score past Tim Krul.
Norwich manager Smith’s heart must have been pierced by the celebrations after the final whistle.
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Norwich’s poor defense can’t contain the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo
They also obscured some poor defense from the visitors, the kind of thing that has enraged many of the club’s supporters to the point that some even skipped the start of the game as part of a pre-match protest.
When Pukki grabbed possession on the right-hand side of the box, he was completely unmarked. He then picked up Dowell, who was also completely unmarked as he placed the ball past David de Gea from six yards. Pukki was also left alone seven minutes after the re-start when he leveled the game for the visitors.
De Gea turned a shot from Milton Rashica around the post at full stretch, and Sam Byram headed over at the far post. Smith must have believed he was on his way to a great victory at that time.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, had a different plan. Norwich’s struggle to stay alive continues. However, the odds against them succeeding are increasing.