Manchester United 3-2 Tottenham: Ronaldo hits stunning hat-trick

Manchester United 3-2 Tottenham: Ronaldo hits stunning hat-trick

Cristiano Ronaldo sank Tottenham with the first hat-trick of his second Old Trafford spell as Manchester United won 3-2 to boost hopes of a top-four finish.

At 37 years and 35 days, Ronaldo became the second-oldest player to score a Premier League treble, with only Teddy Sheringham having managed the feat later in life.

After missing the Manchester derby last week, Ronaldo was back and in the mood for this one, opening the scoring with a stunning long-range finish before giddily restoring United’s lead after Harry Kane levelled from the spot.

A twist arrived with 18 minutes remaining when United captain Maguire turned the ball into his own net, but a thumping Ronaldo header spared his skipper any post-match apologies.

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Ronaldo saw an early penalty appeal waved away, but nobody could deny him in the 12th minute, as he answered his critics with a 25-yard drive into the top left corner.

Manchester United 3-2 Tottenham: Ronaldo hits stunning hat-trick

Ben Davies had a reply disallowed for offside and Eric Dier saw a header cleared off the line by Diogo Dalot as Tottenham looked to get back on level terms, and they were awarded a penalty in the 34th minute when Dejan Kulusevski’s cross struck Alex Telles on the left hand.

Kane made no mistake, driving the spot-kick low into the left corner, but Ronaldo slammed in his second in the 38th minute after a fizzing low centre from Jadon Sancho on the left. An 806th career goal for Ronaldo surpassed the tally some say Czech striker Josef Bican achieved in his career.

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Son zipped a shot just wide from Tottenham’s best early chance of the second half, while Ronaldo’s audacious effort from a tight angle was parried away by Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham kept pushing as United’s level dipped, and they were rewarded when Maguire turned Sergio Reguilon’s cross into his own net in the 72nd minute.

United had never lost at home in the Premier League when leading at half-time, and that 301-game sequence was under threat, but Ronaldo eased those fears, heading in majestically from a Telles corner.

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This was a battle between two sides bidding to apply pressure on Arsenal, who began the day in fourth place, and all eyes were on the forwards.

Would it be Kane or Ronaldo earning MVP honours in front of the watching NFL legend Tom Brady? As it turned out, it was old man Ronaldo showing, as Brady did so often, that his class is permanent.

It remains a matter of dispute as to whether Ronaldo, with 807 career goals now, should be considered the highest scorer in football history. Nobody, however, would dispute the excellence on show here.

Cristiano Ronaldo (37), Karim Benzema (34) and Robert Lewandowski (33) all scored a hat trick this week

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