Cristiano Ronaldo’s fifth goal in three games earned Manchester United a point in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Thursday, significantly reducing his team’s hopes of finishing in the top four in the Premier League.
Ronaldo raced onto a ball over the Chelsea defence from Nemanja Matic and finished clinically in the 62nd minute, only two minutes after Marcos Alonso had given the visitors the lead.
Chelsea’s Reece James later curled a shot against the post after dominating the first half, but United goalkeeper David de Gea was in top form.
Story of the match
Thomas Tuchel’s team have been thrashed at home by Brentford and Arsenal, and their Champions League defence has come to an end.
They were, however, just the latest squad to have too much energy, ideas, and organisation for a United team who can now only match their lowest ever Premier League points record by winning their remaining three games.
In keeping with the Red Devils’ season, only David de Gea and Cristiano were credited for keeping the hosts in the game at both ends.
With the finest chances of the first half, De Gea spread himself well to deny Kai Havertz twice.
Tuchel was enraged by his German compatriot’s poor finishing, but Havertz did have a hand in the goal that put the visitors ahead around the hour mark.
Havertz deflected Reece James’ cross into the path of Alonso, who fired a brilliantly shot volley past De Gea.
Ronaldo was at his clinical best to slam home United’s first big chance of the game, and the lead lasted only two minutes.
Nemanja Matic chipped a wonderful pass into the path of the Portuguese, who controlled and fired high past, Edouard Mendy, for his season-high 23rd goal.
Chelsea could have won all three points with James curling against the post from Mason Mount’s backheel in the closing seconds.
In his previous two games, Ronaldo had scored a hat trick against Norwich and another goal against Arsenal.
With 17 goals, Ronaldo is tied for the second position in the Premier League scoring tally with Son Heung-min, trailing only Mohamed Salah.
“Not only Cristiano’s goal, but his entire performance, his mentality at the age of 37, this is not normal,” interim United manager Ralf Rangnick stated.
“If he continues to perform like he did today, he can still be a huge help to this team.”
The buildup was dominated by allegations that Rangnick was considering taking over as coach of Austria’s national team, as well as new protests against the Glazer family’s ownership.