CRISTIANO RONALDO’s last-minute winner for Manchester United against Villarreal was the club’s latest Champions League goal.
The Portuguese, 36, hit the back of the net in the 95th minute – two minutes later than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s famous strike that won the 1999 final and secured the Treble.
Man Utd were heading for a 1-1 draw with the Europa League champs at Old Trafford before Ronaldo produced a trademark moment.
The forward got on the end of a decent Fred delivery, heading the ball into the path of substitute Jesse Lingard.
The England winger then passed it straight back to Ronaldo for him to fire beyond Villarreal goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
Exactly 94 minutes and 13 seconds were on the clock when the ball hit the net – and two seconds later, Ronaldo’s top was off in celebration.
The goal also buried any demons from Man Utd’s defeat to Villarreal in May and Lingard’s late mistake against Young Boys two weeks ago.
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It’s the latest the Manchester club have scored in the Champions League, beating the previous record set by current boss Solskjaer 22 years ago.
The Norwegian’s was a little bit more important, though, as his 93rd minute winner against Bayern Munich handed Man Utd the Treble.
And it wasn’t the only record Ronaldo broke on Wednesday. He also became the first man to make 178 appearances in the Champions League.
Speaking after the win, Solskjaer said: “That’s the true mark of a great finisher.
“That’s what he’s done throughout his career. He’s so strong mentally and stays in the game.
“I’ve seen him all day, the way he’s built himself up for this game and when he gets that one chance it’s a goal.
“He had a couple of half decent ones, that he keeps calm when the chance arrives. He’s done that so many times.
“You saw against Ireland a month or so ago, when he missed a penalty early, didn’t touch the ball more or less, and then scored two great headers in the last two minutes.
“He is so good in front of goal and has an impact on everyone – the crowd, the players, the whole club. Cristiano has done it again and it’s three very important points.”
Solskjaer admitted his side had ridden their luck, and Villarreal could have been out of sight had it not been for an inspired performance from keeper David de Gea.
DE GEA TO THANK
He added: “Thankfully we had the best goalkeeper in the world tonight – David was fantastic and deserved to be man of the match. He saved us, we have to be realistic and say that.
“We all know the Champions League at Old Trafford is magic, and sometimes that history can help us.
“Sometimes it is not about passes here or there, it is about the crowd and the Stretford End has sucked a few in before, I know that. That is probably what happened.
“That is what happens here at Old Trafford, it’s happened so many times before. We have to throw caution to the wind and we got lucky in the end.
“They are very tough to beat, but when you have Cristiano on the pitch you always have a chance.”
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