In an absolutely insane match-up at Old Trafford, Manchester United came back from two goals down to compel a fierce 3-2 victory against the Italian stalwarts, Atalanta, thanks to a late strike from Ronaldo who came up with the winner.
In a tale of two contrasting halves where the first belonged to the visitors as they hammered two early goals, exploiting a woeful Manchester defence, the second one was owned by the Devils where they meant business right from the word go.
The story of the game between Manchester United and Atalanta
United started the opening half on a belligerent note as McTominay slipped a ball through for Rashford. The English winger managed to reach the ball on time but couldn’t really get past Musso and the offside flag saved him the blushes.
Despite the early trade of haymakers, the Italians set themselves up comfortably when a quick free-kick saw a signature Atalanta wringing out a lead from the wreckage of a flatfooted Manchester defence. Muriel latched onto the rolling free-kick to feed a rushing Zappacosta on the overlap who in turn teed up Pasalic to slot home.
Oooof UCL nights ✨ pic.twitter.com/qtbYLmXZw4
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 20, 2021Advertisement
The goal acted as a massive catalyst for the Italians but when there is Ronaldo plying his trade, you cannot write off a team so easily. Just within minutes of the opening goal, Ronaldo conjured a stellar illustration of footwork and control to run rings around an Atalanta defence and squared off Fred whose rising belter was parried away by Musso.
It was once again Ronaldo pulling at the strings of destruction as this time he sped past a couple of defenders down the left and teed up Fernandes whose shot was blocked. Despite United pressing desperately for an equalizer, Demiral rallied his forces almost single-handedly to refute Rashford and Fernandes in a quick span of time.
Manchester kept on coming back at Atalanta whose high-line technique seemed to struggle against the salvo of the Devils but an alert Demiral and Palomino saved the half for the visitors. Just when it felt that United is going to come harder at their counterparts, Gasperino’s men found the back of the net for a second time and once again due to a sleeping Manchester defence.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 20, 2021Advertisement
A whiplash corner was noggined home by a rising Demiral who shirked his markers Shaw and Maguire effortlessly to meet the cross and usher it home. The second goal exposed the skeleton of Manchester’s rearguard that has been at the receiving end for a while now.
Livid at what was happening at the other end, the Manchester attack sprang back to life in the last ten minutes of the opening half. Rashford was once again fed by an excellent pass from Bruno Fernandes but despite being one on one, he couldn’t master control of the ball and Demiral was once again to the rescue.
Fernandes played another impudently brilliant flick in the stride of Fred whose screamer flew inches wide of the target. Rashford had another easy chance fed to him as he was surged into the Atalanta box, perfectly set up for a finish but his whiplash strike grazed the top of the crossbar and sailed into the stands.
The resumption of the game after the break brought about a paradigm shift in Manchester’s playing style as they were not leaving the field empty-handed. They started pouring in the numbers and the loss of Demiral to an injury left Atalanta stunned. All it took for Manchester to half the arrears was just eight minutes of the second half as a screaming through from Fernandes in the stride of Rashford allowed him to settle, take a couple of deft touches and slide it past Musso into the net.
⭐️ 𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗥 𝗠𝗔𝗡 ⭐️Advertisement
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 20, 2021
As United started picking out the Atalanta defenders with a high press, the defenders seemed clueless as Pasalic and De Roon were booked in a span of thirty seconds. It needed a diving save from Musso to keep Manchester at bay.
Out of the blue, Atalanta stunned United again as it needed a fine double save from De Gea to keep Manchester United afloat but that was the last of the Italian outfit that we would witness.
A scouring cross from Bruno saw Cavani dummying for Maguire and the United captain came up with one of the finest and rarest finishes to restore world order for Manchester United and send the crowd into a bout of delirious frenzy.
Despite being the unsung hero of the night, Bruno Fernandes slipped in a handful of captivating passes to challenge the Italian outfit and this time after Ronaldo set him up with another exciting flick, he hammered straight at Musso.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 20, 2021Advertisement
As United kept on coming at Atalanta, it had to be the Portuguese goal-scoring machine to settle the scores as Ronaldo outleaped his marker and thumped home from eight yards away to complete a remarkable turnaround for the Red Devils.
Here is what Twitter had to say about Ronaldo
Despite a few tussles hither and yon, the Manchester rearguard held firm to emerge victorious in what one would call a perfect night of European football. Twitter couldn’t keep calm as Manchester sealed a crunch win to ace the table.
— SPORF (@Sporf) October 20, 2021
— Seema Jaswal (@seemajaswal) October 20, 2021
— UtdFaithfuls (@UtdFaithfuls) October 20, 2021
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) October 20, 2021
FT: Man Utd 3-2 Atalanta
Cristiano to the rescue. 🚦 pic.twitter.com/7yFbcKAabP
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 20, 2021Advertisement
📅 Tuesday: Lionel Messi scores two goals in a 3-2 win for PSG
📅 Wednesday: Cristiano Ronaldo scores for #MUFC in a 3-2 win
Still producing at the highest level 👏 pic.twitter.com/LIcIZkyh0sAdvertisement
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) October 20, 2021
— Fantasy Premier League (@OfficialFPL) October 20, 2021
What a goal from @Cristiano. Indisputably the best attacking header of a football the game has ever seen.Advertisement
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) October 20, 2021
Ronaldo is inevitable 😤Advertisement
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 20, 2021
ℹ️ Group stage records:
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) October 20, 2021Advertisement