Cristiano Ronaldo shines as Manchester United cruise past Sheriff Tiraspol

Portuguese star on the scoresheet on his third start under Erik ten Hag

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Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo both made points as Manchester United eased to a 2-0 victory over Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.

Sancho was on target hours after being left out of the England squad and Ronaldo scored his first of the season as United brushed off the Moldovans in Chisinau to register their first points of the group stage.

Both goals came in the first half with Ronaldo’s, a penalty in the 39th minute, being the 699th of his glittering club career.

After a summer of speculation over his future, it underlined a strong performance from the Portuguese on just his third start under Erik ten Hag.

The result ensured United’s campaign was up and running after defeat in their Group E opener against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford last week.

Sheriff may have surprised European giants and eventual winners Real Madrid in the Champions League last season but, after much change to their side since, they lacked the quality to consistently trouble United.

The Moldovans did start positively, and Mouhamed Diop fired over from distance after a Diogo Dalot error, but they were caught out as soon as United began to assert themselves.

Sancho, perhaps stung into action by his omission from the national side, finished superbly in the 17th minute after collecting the ball from Christian Eriksen on the edge of the area.

The former Borussia Dortmund star cleverly wrong-footed a defender with a couple of smart touches and guided in a shot off the base of the post.

Andy Mitten video from Moldova

Sheriff responded well as Iyayi Atiemwen cut inside from the left and shot narrowly wide before also going close from a free-kick.

Ronaldo went close to doubling the lead after being released by a quick Antony free-kick but shot over.

Sancho was denied another by a goalline clearance from Stjepan Radeljic after goalkeeper Maxym Koval gave the ball straight to Antony.

United’s second came from the penalty spot after Dalot was carelessly tripped by Patrick Kpozo.

Ronaldo struck coolly from 12 yards with a shot straight down the middle.

Bruno Fernandes forced Koval to save with his feet early in the second half and Ronaldo was wayward attempting to place a shot in the top corner after a swift attack.

Sheriff pieced together some good moves themselves at times but lacked any cutting edge. Ibrahim Rasheed sent an attempted lob over and Cedric Badolo shot straight at David De Gea.

Sheriff pressed further in the closing minutes but United were not troubled as they held out for victory.

In the group's other game, Real Sociedad made it two wins from two with a 2-1 victory over Neil Lennon's Omonia Nicosia.

Updated: September 16, 2022, 5:53 AM
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