|United player celebrate after Cristiano Ronaldo's header sealed the points at Old Trafford against Tottenham Hotspur. (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
Manchester United returned to winning ways after the embarrassment of last weekend at the Etihad with a 3-2 win at Old Trafford over Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur.
The game was always going to be a winner takes all with top four at stake and both teams seeking the advantage, knowing only a win would do and the quality of the performance by both sides lived up to the pre-match hype.
Manchester United restored Cristiano Ronaldo to the starting line up while Bruno Fernandes didn’t make the match day squad. Spurs had everyone available, keeping the same shape and only Sergio Reguilon for Ryan Sessegnon changed from their 5-0 win over Everton.
It didn’t take long before the game sprung to life. Fred’s layoff was met by Cristiano Ronaldo who belted one past Hugo Lloris for the opener, it was a sensational goal that kick-started what would later be a goal-fest in front of the Old Trafford crowd.
Harry Kane leveled from the spot after a handball in the United area by Alex Telles but Ronaldo had the final say before the first half was drawn to a halt.
A fine cross from the left met the 37 year old and he obliged by tapping in from close range although the Frenchman in goal for the visitors had a touch, albeit a weak one to ensure the hosts went into the halftime break with a precious 2-1 lead.
Harry Maguire got on the wrong end of a cross by Reguilon as he diverted the ball into his own net to draw the two sides level as the second half wore on and the game looked poised to end in a stalemate but Ronaldo had other ideas.
The Portuguese rose the highest, beating all Spurs defenders to a header late on in the game off a corner kick to win the game for the Red Devils. The win got United above Arsenal on the log but the Gunners have played four less than United.
"Everybody knows Cristiano -- there's no need to talk about him," said Paul Pogba after the match. "That's what he does. He didn't play in the last game, but he comes back and scores three goals. Everybody's happy.
"Ronaldo was brilliant. I think that's all we needed -- a reaction. We scored beautiful goals. Even when we conceded a goal, we came back and scored again. The mentality was there again today."
Tottenham stay in seventh after the loss but will have a chance to make things right against Brighton in midweek.