Cristiano Ronaldo has reached 800 career goals with a double securing Manchester United a 3-2 victory against Arsenal in the Premier League.
- Cristiano Ronaldo scored two second-half goals as United beat Arsenal 3-2 to earn their sixth win of the season
- In the process, the Portuguese superstar scored the 800th and 801st goals of his stellar career
- Caretaker manager Michael Carrick left United after the game, with Ralf Rangnick taking over as manager for the rest of the season
And interim manager Ralf Rangnick was there to see his new team triumph from the stands.
A lot has changed at Old Trafford since United’s last home game 26 days ago, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer losing his job after that loss to Manchester City was compounded by a shocking defeat at Watford.
Michael Carrick, Solskjaer’s assistant, has steadied the team during an unbeaten three-match caretaker stint that ended with an entertaining win featuring a bizarre opening goal and another demonstration of Ronaldo’s enduring excellence on his return to the side.
He scored the winner from the penalty spot after his first goal allowed him to reach 800 for his career for club and country.
Rangnick’s first game in charge will be against Crystal Palace this Sunday.
The German has signed a deal until the end of the season and Thursday’s game will have given him food for thought, having seen the team’s quality and ongoing defensive concerns from the directors’ box.
Finding a way to keep clean sheets will be key if this season is to be a success for United. But there was little that could be done to prevent Emile Smith Rowe’s bizarre opener.
David De Gea was rolling around in apparent pain on the goal line when Smith Rowe struck a volley from the edge of the area, with the VAR instructing referee Martin Atkinson to award the goal as it was the Spaniard’s teammate, Fred, who hurt the goalkeeper by treading on his foot at a corner.
Bruno Fernandes, making his 100th United appearance, equalised in the 44th, before Ronaldo turned home Marcus Rashford’s cross to bring up his landmark early in the second half.
Arsenal took just two minutes to bring the match back level as Martin Odegaard found the net with a low finish, good work he undid 16 minutes later with a rash challenge on Fred inside the box.
Atkinson awarded the penalty after the VAR advised him to watch the pitchside monitor, with Ronaldo keeping his cool in front of the Stretford End to lash home what proved to be the winner.
The night started with a giant “20LEGEND” banner being unfurled in that stand as the United faithful chanted club great Solskjaer’s name following his exit last month.
It ended with United announcing Carrick would be stepping down as first-team coach and leaving the club where he also starred as a midfielder from 2006-18.
In the other game of the night, Son Heung-min’s goal at the end of a sweeping counterattack sealed Tottenham’s 2-0 win over Brentford, leaving Antonio Conte unbeaten in three Premier League games in charge of the London team.
Son played a part in the 13th-minute opener, supplying the cross from the left that Brentford defender Pontus Jansson cleared onto the head of teammate Sergi Canos. The ball ricocheted backward into the net.
The South Korea forward scored the second himself in the 65th by tapping into an unguarded net after meeting a square ball from Sergio Reguilon, who had been set free by an exquisite through-ball from Harry Kane.