Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick rekindles Champions League hopes, Manchester United defeated Norwich City 3-2 at Old Trafford thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 50th hat-trick in club football.
The Portuguese striker, who is reportedly not in Erik ten Hag’s plans, scored twice in the first half to put United ahead and then hammered a free kick home after the Premier League’s lowest club leveled the score at two each.
With seven minutes on the clock, a mistake by Ben Gibson allowed Anthony Elanga to set up a tap-in for the United striker, and just after the half-hour mark, he headed in Alex Telles’ corner.
Teemu Pukki crossed for Kieran Dowell to head home on the stroke of halftime, before scoring himself seven minutes after the restart after being sent through by Mathias Normann.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, had the final say, slamming home from 25 yards to pull United within three points of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. Norwich is still seven points from safety at the bottom of the league.
The unseasonably warm weather in Manchester gave the atmosphere of an end-of-season match, which was only enhanced by Ralf Rangnick’s team selection. With four strikers in front of Paul Pogba, who was chosen as a holding midfielder, Norwich found possession in United’s half simple to come by and were able to put United under pressure. For most of the game, it appeared like it came down to who wanted the win more, and it appeared that Dean Smith’s team had the upper hand.
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According to reports from the continent, Erik ten Hag does not want Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford next season. With two brilliant finishes and an overall very impressive game, the Portuguese great demonstrated why the Ajax coach may have second thoughts about this thought process, before making the occasion his personal by smashing home the free-kick. United would be 10-12 points worse off without him this season, and while there are accusations that he does not set the best example for his teammates, it would be a big decision for a new manager to make his club worse right away.