Villarreal vs Manchester United, result, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho goal, reaction, Robert Lewandowski goal

Cristiano Ronaldo’s excellent goal has helped Manchester United begin life after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a 2-0 victory over Villarreal and seal their place in the Champions League last 16.

Ronaldo’s splendid lob was then capped by Jadon Sancho’s first United goal at the Ceramica, where caretaker manager Michael Carrick dropped Bruno Fernandes to the bench.

Fernandes was on the pitch for both of United’s goals after being brought on in the 66th minute, but it was Ronaldo who proved the difference again, his instinctive shot in the 78th unlocking a game that looked destined to remain goalless.

In forced changes, United were without Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane, Mason Greenwood, Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw.

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Lewa scores BICYCLE in the snow | 00:52

When it came to unforced changes, Carrick started Donny van de Beek and Anthony Martial with Fernandes and Marcus Rashford dropping to the bench.

Fernandes, who signed with United for £47 million ($A87m), had been a mainstay under Solskjaer and had created more chances than any other player in the Champions League this season.

It was a sign that no-one would be safe if results at Old Trafford continued to spiral but a pair of goals ensured that did not happen, at least on Wednesday morning.

The first came in the 78th minute as Ronaldo pounced on a Villarreal mix-up to lob in a goal while young gun Sancho sealed the win in the 90th minute.

Fred sparked the play, with Ronaldo then putting it through for Rashford who linked with Fernandes.

Unleashed off the bench, it was the exact response Carrick was after from the duo, with Fernandes adding to his assist tally as he set up Sancho who sent the ball into the top corner.

Jadon Sancho celebrates his goal. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)
Jadon Sancho celebrates his goal. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Sancho, who signed with United on a £73 million ($A135m) deal had limited playing time under Solskjaer and was struggling as such to live up to his hefty price tag early on.

The young gun started Wednesday’s game and finished with 55 total touches, four successful tackles and 93 per cent pass accuracy alongside that late goal.

The hope from the Red Devils will be that the result and his first goal in United colours will only boost Sancho’s confidence for future fixtures.

The victory guaranteed United a spot in the knockout rounds of the Champions League with a game to spare.

Carrick has only been placed in temporary charge, after the club outlined their plan on Sunday to install an interim coach before then making a permanent appointment next summer.

Numerous candidates have been linked, with former Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde the latest name to emerge on Tuesday.


Robert Lewandowski scored a magnificent overhead kick in the snow as Bayern Munich won 2-1 at Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, even with five of their players in quarantine.

Lewandowski put Bayern ahead with a superbly-timed bicycle kick to score for a ninth consecutive Champions League appearance.

With Bayern already through to the last 16 as Group E winners, Kingsley Coman doubled the visitors’ lead before Denys Garmash scored the hosts’ first goal in the competition this season.

Bayern had Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Michael Cuisance in quarantine as Covid-19 contact cases.

Heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures in Kiev could not prevent Lewandowski scoring one of the best goals of his career.

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski celebrates. (Photo by GENYA SAVILOV / AFP)Source: AFP

In the 14th minute, the ball shot skywards after hitting the boot of Ukraine defender Illya Zabarnyi and Lewandowski reacted quickest with an unstoppable, acrobatic effort.

The Poland striker, who is among the favourites to win the Ballon d’Or award next Monday, scored his 82nd Champions League goal from 101 appearances.

Coman doubled Bayern’s first-half lead just before the break with a crisp shot from a tight angle.

Kiev applied pressure at 2-0 down in the second half and were rewarded when they attacked down the left before Garmash got in behind the defence to fire in a consolation goal with 20 minutes left.

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