REVEALED: Cristiano Ronaldo’s 95th-minute winner against Villarreal was Man United’s latest-ever Champions League goal… beating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Treble clincher by almost two minutes
- The clock read 94 minutes and 13 seconds when Ronaldo scored the winner
- It was Manchester United’s latest goal in a Champions League match
- Strike earned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side an undeserved win over Villarreal
- It was timed at almost two minutes later than Solskjaer’s famous winner in 1999
- Ronaldo also became the leading appearance maker in the Champions League
Cristiano Ronaldo’s dramatic goal for Manchester United against Villarreal was the club’s latest in the Champions League – beating a famous one from his manager.
The clock read 94 minutes and 13 seconds at Old Trafford when the Portuguese star fired home from a tight angle to earn United an undeserved 2-1 win.
Ronaldo celebrated by whipping his shirt off and throwing it high into the air in front of an adoring Stretford End.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his 95th-minute winner as Manchester United saw off Villarreal
Ronaldo squeezed the ball home from a tight angle to earn his side a barely deserved victory
It was United’s latest goal in the Champions League, beating Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s in 1999
It was United’s latest goal in the competition, almost two minutes deeper into stoppage time than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s after 92 minutes and 17 seconds against Bayern Munich in the 1999 final.
If qualifying rounds are also included, Marouane Fellaini scored in the 94th-minute against Club Brugge in 2015 but Ronaldo’s goal, coming in the 95th minute, was later still.
It was the perfect way for Ronaldo to mark his record-breaking 178th appearance in the Champions League as he overtook the tally of Iker Casillas on Wednesday night.
Solskjaer’s side struggled against the team that defeated them in the Europa League final back in May. Falling behind to a Paco Alcacer goal eight minutes into the second-half, they needed a well-taken equaliser by Alex Telles to haul themselves back into the game.
Ronaldo saved Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from feeling further pressure after recent poor results
United had struggled throughout the game before Ronaldo’s late winner bailed them out
With mere seconds remaining in the five minutes of added time, Ronaldo got a sideways header on Fred’s cross from the left wing to tee up Jesse Lingard close to goal.
Lingard couldn’t get a shot away but did return it to Ronaldo to squeeze the ball past Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli and spark ecstatic celebrations.
United could ill-afford any further Champions League slip-ups having lost 2-1 to Young Boys in their opening group game and Ronaldo’s late winner completely changed the mood after three defeats in four.
Solskjaer certainly wouldn’t mind losing his record for United’s latest winning goal in the Champions League, with that moment coming in a far more important match of course.
It’s not the first time Ronaldo has settled a Champions League game in United’s favour in stoppage time. His free-kick earned a 2-1 win over his old club Sporting Lisbon in the 2007-08 group stage.
Ronaldo scored one of his trademark free-kicks for United against Sporting Lisbon in 2007
That winner against his former club came in stoppage time but Wednesday’s goal was later
The late winner on Wednesday took Ronaldo’s extraordinary record in a competition he has won five times to 136 goals in 178 appearances. He is 15 goals ahead of Lionel Messi in the all-time goalscorers’ chart.
‘When you have Cristiano on the pitch you always have a chance,’ Solskjaer said. ‘He is so good in front of goal and has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players, the whole club.
‘He’s done that so many times. When you saw him [for Portugal] against Ireland a month ago, he missed a penalty early and didn’t touch the ball more or less, but scored two great headers in the last few minutes.
Solskjaer’s winner against Bayern Munich in the 1999 final clinched the Treble for United
‘That’s what he’s done throughout his career. He stays in the game. I’ve seen him all day, the way he’s built up for this game and when he gets that one chance it’s a goal.’
Ronaldo himself said: ‘This is why I came back – I miss this club a lot. I have history with this club and I want to do it again [win the Champions League], not only for me but to push the team.’