Ronaldo seals another hat-trick with stunning free-kick winner to ease pain for home fans

Posted 2 months ago 16 Apr 2022 by Emmanuel

HANDS up again all those who still think Cristiano Ronaldo is the problem.

If it wasn’t for the one man in red with genuine claims to be hailed as a superstar, Manchester United wouldn’t be anywhere near the hunt for the Champions League slots.

To be honest, if it wasn’t for Ronaldo, there’s more chance they would be talking of Premier League survival than anything else. And against Norwich City we witnessed another example of it.

Two up, both from the clinical finishing of the Portuguese striker, against the worst team in the league, and surely this time not even these serial cock-up kings could blow it.

Suddenly, though, all square and the Canaries the only ones looking likely to win it. United, it seemed, were all out of heroes.

Time, then, for Ronaldo to step up to the plate yet again. To produce another worldie to win it yet again. To complete a five-star personal show with a hat-trick yet again.

That’s two games running he has left Old Trafford as a treble rouser. Twice on the bounce he, and he alone, has been the reason United bagged all three points.

Last month it was Tottenham who couldn’t stop the Ronaldo roadshow. This time it was Norwich.

And while you could argue United as a collective didn’t deserve to win on either occasion, Ronaldo himself merited double.

To put things into context, his hat-trick against the Canaries took him to 21 for the season in all competitions. That’s more than double his closest colleague, Bruno Fernandes.

OK, the first was no more than a couldn’t-miss tap-in, but at least he was there to tap it in.

The second was down to how easily he lost his marker to rise and meet an Alex Telles corner, but at least he rose highest and finished hardest.

And the last, for all it was a thunderous strike, should have been beaten wide when Tim Krul got both hands to it. But it carried enough venom to end up in the corner.

The man is a legend, pure and simple. All those who doubted the value of handing him a two-year contract when he is now 37 are looking bigger mugs by the week.

Just like most of those alongside him in red shirts are managing to look like bigger mugs by the week with each increasingly dismal performance.

Losing to an Everton side which didn’t even manage a shot on target of their own was bad enough a week ago.

But blowing a two-goal, easy-street advantage against a team which is going through its metaphorical relegation death throes is unforgivable.

And how ironic, too, that they did so after Ralf Rangnick used his programme notes to speak of the need to get the opening goal and hold onto the lead when they did.

Well United managed the first part easily enough against the basement boys. They hadn’t done so in seven previous games, so don’t poo-poo it, either.

Although to be fair, the fact Norwich centre back Ben Gibson merited the assist as much as Anthony Elanga says everything about its creation.

Gibson traded passes with Dimitris Giannoulis as the Canaries tried to play their way out from the back, and Anthony Elanga nipped in to nick it away.

A couple of strides forward, a simple square ball later, and Ronaldo had side footed his 19th of the season home from bang in front.

The United superstar invited his young provider to mark the goal by joining him in his usual spin and land goal celebration. Elanga didn’t need asking twice.

Little more than half an hour gone, and the lead was doubled, again thanks to some pretty woeful Gibson defending, letting Ronaldo escape to head past Tim Krul. Two up and cruising.

But if you can rely on this shower for one thing, it’s to find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. Ronaldo aside, it’s the only time their accuracy can be guaranteed.

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