On Tuesday at Villarreal, Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League goal streak continued, and as a result, Manchester United's Champions League dream carried on with a spot in the knockout stages.
For the fifth straight Champions League game, Ronaldo scored to give him six goals in five games in the competition. Meanwhile, the forward has shown his penchant for clutch moments, scoring in the 75th minute or later in the club's last four UCL games.
Tied in a scoreless slog against a Villarreal team that defeated United in the Europa League final last season, Ronaldo stepped to the forefront with his 78th-minute goal. Villarreal goalkeeper Gerónimo Rulli played an errant pass right into the middle of the action, which was then deflected to Ronaldo right at the edge of the area. The 36-year-old spotted the keeper, turned on his heel and looped a shot over Rulli and in for the winning goal.
It's usually difficult to judge a single player's impact in the world of soccer, but it's quite clear where United would be in Champions League without the Portuguese superstar. All 10 of the the club's points through five Champions League games have come with Ronaldo scoring the deciding goal.
Jadon Sancho added a late goal for United in the 90th minute, ensuring that the Red Devils head into the sixth and final matchday game atop the group. Tuesday's match was the club's first since firing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Saturday, which has led to a furious search for a manager to take over the reins at Old Trafford.
On Tuesday, Ronaldo also became the first player to score in the opening five Champions League games of a single UCL campaign for an English club, according to Squawka. The goal also marked the 17th straight season Ronaldo has scored at least 10 goals, giving him 799 career goals for club and country.
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