Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick was delighted with the overall performance of Cristiano Ronaldo during the club’s 2-0 Premier League win over Brighton & Hove Albion last night.
The Red Devils returned to winning ways after back-to-back league draws, but it was far from a vintage performance. The club squandered an early chance through Jadon Sancho. Ronaldo brilliantly put him through on goal with a clever backheel.
Brighton dominated the proceedings for most of the first half and could have easily opened the scoring if not for David de Gea’s superb reflexes. The Spaniard has been in superb form in goal this term, and produced an excellent acrobatic save to deny Jakub Moder.
In the second half, United gained control, but it was partly due to Brighton’s own doing. A Yves Bissouma error handed possession to Ronaldo outside the box. He showed his class, riding off challenges before a powerful shot into the bottom right corner of Robert Sanchez’s net.
It proved a vital goal for the Red Devils in the end, considering United’s second came through Bruno Fernandes in the 96th minute despite having a man advantage since the 54th minute. Ronaldo was definitely the stand-out performer and Rangnick was delighted for the £12.8 million star following the hard-fought victory.
He said via Manutd.com: “Yes, it was an amazing goal. Not only an important one but an amazing goal. Overall, it was also a good performance by Cristiano. Energetically, he was online, he was always trying to help the other team-mates. I think, in the last weeks, that would be the best performance by him and very, very important for us.”
United were second best in the opening half of the encounter. Brighton were comfortable in possession, and were easily finding spaces behind the Red Devils defence. It looked only a matter of time before they scored, but the dynamics changed after the break.
Bissouma’s error paved the way for Ronaldo’s brilliant strike. Just moments later, Lewis Dunk received his marching orders after denying a clear-cut scoring opportunity to Anthony Elanga. A red card was branded to Dunk after the referee reviewed the incident.
Despite the man advantage, it was a frustrating performance from United. Ronaldo’s header was tipped over the bar by Sanchez before the Portuguese squandered a clear-cut chance. He was not alone in doing so. Fernandes missed a golden opportunity from his pass.
Brighton could have equalised with their late chances, but United had some good fortune. Ronaldo netted his first goal of the year, but could have quite easily bagged a hat-trick and two assists with the chances on offer last night.
Ultimately, it is the result that matters. United are back into the fourth spot in the league ahead of West Ham United. Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur have games in hand, but having points on the board is a boost.