Ronaldo scored in the 95th minute to give Manchester United the victory in a thrilling 2-1 home win.
The repeat of last season’s Europa League final, which Villarreal won on penalties, looked to be heading for a draw after another disappointing United performance. They were slow, and a lackluster defence gave United keeper David de Gea lots of work to do. But summer signing Ronaldo blasted one home from Jesse Lingard’s lay-off to spark jubilant scenes at Old Trafford!
Fan’s roared around the stadium, and Ronaldo took his shirt off in what was a record 178th Champions League appearance for him, surpassing Iker Casillas’ all-time record.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær hailed a “massive moment” for Manchester United after Cristiano Ronaldo’s 95th-minute strike snatched the win against Villarreal and eased the pressure on the manager following a run of three defeats in four matches.
United started brightly, with Bruno Fernandes scooping over and Ronaldo also failing to hit the target with a header in the opening seven minutes.
Villarreal took charge thereafter but could not score in the first half in which they created chance after chance. United goalkeeper David de Gea made vital reflex saves to deny Arnaut Danjuma and Paco Alcacer, and also thwarted Yeremi Pino.
Villarreal striker Alcacer should have scored when Raphael Varane misjudged the bounce of the ball but dragged his shot wide, and Alberto Moreno and Pino both blazed over from promising positions.
But they did break the deadlock at the start of the second half as Danjuma got in behind and pulled the ball back for Alcacer to convert from close range.
While United were finding it difficult to make inroads, they equalised through Alex Telles’ moment of genius, as he smashed a first-time volley from 20 yards into the bottom corner.
Ronaldo’s winner means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side pick up their first win in the group while, in the group’s other tie, Atalanta beat Young Boys 1-0 to go top of the table.