Champions League: Ronaldo rescues Manchester United with stoppage-time equaliser

Cristiano Ronaldo’s last-minute equaliser has earned Manchester United a point against Atalanta.

Atalanta twice went ahead through Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata but Ronaldo scored in stoppage time of both halves to ensure United would not be leaving Italy empty-handed.

United came close twice in the opening five minutes. First, Ronaldo’s shot was saved by Juan Musso, before Scott McTominay hit the post after a deflection off a defender.

Atalanta took the lead though with their first attack of note, and it was a mistake from David de Gea that gifted the Italians a goal. Duvan Zapata found Ilicic on the edge of the area and De Gea failed to gather the strike and deflected it in.

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Ronaldo nearly equalised immediately before Luke Shaw’s volley went over the bar.

Harry Maguire then put the ball in the net with a header but Ronaldo had fouled Musso and the goal was disallowed.

On the half-hour mark, Paul Pogba nearly gifted Atalanta a second. His pass across the box was intercepted by Zapata but Eric Bailly got back to make the block.

United’s equaliser came on the verge of half time as Ronaldo netted his fourth Champions League goal in as many games. Bruno Fernandes’ superb backheel found Ronaldo in the area to finish in style.

The second half started at frantic pace as Teun Koopmeiner and Zapata both had chances to give Atalanta the lead.

At the other end, Fernandes’ show was blocked by Jose Luis Palomino.

It was Atalanta who took the lead though, when Zapata beat Maguire to score. The assistant referee initially raised the flag for offside but the video assistant referee came to the rescue to award Atalanta the goal.

The result should have been wrapped up with 11 minutes to spare when former Chelsea man Davide Zappacosta found Duvan Zapata but the striker’s shot went narrowly over the bar.

Zapata had another chance to double their lead late on and nearly caught out De Gea from long range, but the United keeper made a diving save to keep him out.

Ronaldo came to the rescue for United once again in stoppage time when he fired in first time from the edge of the area after Greenwood’s pass.

The drama was not quite over though. Another VAR review looked at whether there was a handball in the build-up but the goal was finally given and United earned a crucial point.

Cover Photo: Old Trafford, Manchester by Sean MacEntee used under license by CC BY 2.0.

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