Cristiano Ronaldo scored for the first time this season as Manchester United got their Europa League campaign back on track with a 2-0 win at Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday.
Ronaldo had gone seven games without a goal this term before the United striker converted a first-half penalty against the Moldovan champions.
It was the 37-year-old’s 699th club goal, but Ronaldo’s low-key celebration was in keeping with the comfortable nature of United’s third successive away victory.
This was the kind of unglamourous fixture Ronaldo seemed desperate to avoid when he launched his unsuccessful bid to quit Old Trafford for a Champions League club in the summer.
But the Portugal star will be relieved to have got on the scoresheet, after Jadon Sancho put United ahead with a well-timed response on the day he was left out of the England squad.
Ronaldo missed United’s pre-season tour for “family reasons” and, while Erik Ten Hag was pleased with his contribution against Sheriff, he says the forward needs more work to reach peak fitness.
“We could expect this when you miss pre-season so he has to work really hard and invest to get the right fitness then he will score more goals,” United boss Ten Hag said.
“You can see he is really close and when he gets…