A game that very well could have acted as a thorn in Manchester United’s flesh of qualifying for the round of 16 changed its complexion in the dying embers of the game, thanks to a clinical strike from the Portuguese marksman, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Atalanta got their noses ahead in the first half as Josep Ilicic exploited a David de Gea howler to draw first blood. The goal heralded a flurry of errors from the Manchester United midfield as Pogba and McTominay started relinquishing the ball way too early.
The story of an extraordinary comeback featuring Ronaldo
It felt as if the Italian stalwarts were only playing ping-pong amongst themselves with the Manchester United defenders was hellbent to concede possession at the drop of a hat. To make matters worse for Manchester, they lost Raphael Varane at the edge of the 40th minute.
"We believe until the end."
Cristiano Ronaldo is elite.Advertisement
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 2, 2021
Despite being the second-best side almost throughout the opening half, Manchester United conjured a moment of beauty that restored parity for them. Just on the brink of half-time, Mason Greenwood played an impeccable pass for Bruno Fernandes who could have taken the shot himself but instead relayed it to a prowling Ronaldo with a scintillating back-flick. Ronaldo took an adept first touch and hammered into the back of the net.
Maguire made the criminal error of playing Duvan Zapata onside that saw the Colombian striker surging past a diving United skipper to prod the ball home to restore the lead for the hosts.
It was then a trade of haymakers in the midfield with both the teams getting involved in a gutter war and Manchester United hardly looking like the team who could make a comeback.
Ronaldo has been CLUTCH this season 😤Advertisement
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 2, 2021
The defence of Manchester United seemed quite woeful and would have been torn open if not for the persistent brilliance of Eric Bailly. Just when it felt that United may slip off the top two, it had to be the magician who could conjure something out of the blue to bring Manchester United back in the game.
Just when the game rolled into the extra time, Atalanta fail to clear the ball that would fall to Greenwood who relayed it back to Ronaldo and the talisman speared a perfect volley past a diving Musso into the back of the net, sending the United fans into an eruption of inexplicable frenzy as he racked up 5 games from 4 matches in the ongoing Champions League.
Twitter was simply delirious as their icon hammered home a beautiful and emphatic brace to send them roaring in joy.
Ronaldo’s thunderbolt rescues a point for Man United 🚀 pic.twitter.com/2tTFvSER1s
— 433 (@433) November 2, 2021
Man Utd fans when they see Ronaldo saving Ole’s job yet again pic.twitter.com/XPFP3BgvLp
— Footy Humour (@FootyHumour) November 2, 2021
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 2, 2021
Ronaldo may have saved Man United again but Busquets literally came back from the dead pic.twitter.com/qjRP1UBdUA
— Project Football (@ProjectFootball) November 2, 2021
CRISTIANO RONALDO AT THE DEATH. AGAIN 💥 pic.twitter.com/MPbhIJGG7n
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 2, 2021
13 of Ronaldo's 15 goals have been game-tying or go-ahead goals 🐐🐐🐐 pic.twitter.com/vsMTueqZRY
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 2, 2021
Cristiano Ronaldo means Champions League, Champions League means Cristiano Ronaldo. Again and again. 🔴 #UCL
…and also helping Solskjær to avoid another week under enormous pressure before Manchester derby. pic.twitter.com/rvDTsym9jl
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) November 2, 2021Advertisement
He’s apparently the problem 🤥
This guy @Cristiano!
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) November 2, 2021Advertisement
He’s unbelievable. @Cristiano has done it again. One of the greatest finishers in the history of football. Extraordinary player.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) November 2, 2021Advertisement