Cristiano Ronaldo scores his first goal of the season as Manchester United beat Sheriff Tiraspol


Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first goal of the season as Manchester United beat Sheriff Tiraspol 2-0 in the Europa League.

After Jadon Sancho’s opener, Ronaldo doubled United’s lead in Moldova with a first-half penalty – the 699th goal of his club career.

It was an important win for United following last week’s Europa League defeat by Real Sociedade, and a much-needed one for Ronaldo, who has struggled for a place in the starting XI under manager Erik ten Hag.

The 37-year-old was reportedly looking for a move away from United in the summer, such was his desire to play in the Champions League, and he was out of action in pre-season.

“We can expect this when you lose pre-season, so he has to work hard and invest to get fit. Then he will score more goals,” Ten Hag said of Ronaldo’s slow start.

“You can see he’s very close (and) when he gets better he’ll finish (his options). I think (he’s) fully committed to this project and fully committed to this team, fully involved.”

United took the lead on Thursday with a well-worked move in the 17th minute. After a neat exchange of passes, Christian Eriksen found Sanxo, who created space in the area to shoot past Sheriff goalkeeper Maksym Koval.

Sanxo almost got a second midway through, but Stjepan Radeljić cleared his shot brilliantly.

Soon after, however, Diogo Dalot went down the pitch, allowing Ronaldo to extend United’s lead six minutes before the break.

There were more chances for United in the second half, including midfielder Bruno Fernandes, but the score remained 2-0.

“We’ve done the work, and we know it’s always difficult to play here,” Ten Hag said.

“We were really direct, but I also feel that we controlled the game – not from the first minute, but after 10 minutes, we found our footing in the game and managed to create some spaces.”

With United’s weekend game against Leeds postponed following the Queen’s death, the team’s next game is against derby rivals Manchester City on October 2.