On Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 700th career goal for a club, helping Manchester United to a 2-1 victory away at Everton. With the win, Manchester United moved to within one point of the top four teams in the Premier League 2022-23.
The 37-year-old Ronaldo was only on the field because Anthony Martial was unable to run off an injury he got in the warmup, but it did not come as much of a surprise that the replacement took advantage of his chance to play.
Erik ten Hag, the newly appointed manager of Manchester United, has been unable to find a position for Cristiano Ronaldo in the team’s strategy, which is predicated on mobility and pushing. As a result, Ronaldo had previously been restricted to playing just 207 minutes in the league.
However, despite the fact that the Portugal national may not be perfectly suited to those needs, he is still capable of displaying a change of pace and an unerring eye for goal when it is necessary, and that is precisely how he brought up his milestone just before the halfway break.
Antony’s tidy finish in the 15th minute had cancelled out Alex Iwobi’s magnificent curling shot in the fifth to swing the tide in United’s favour, but it was a string of blunders that gave Ronaldo with his opportunity for the moment that will go down in history.
Casemiro gave up control of the ball to Iwobi, but the Everton midfielder ran the ball directly into the path of his opponent. The opponent’s instant reaction was to send Ronaldo scampering free down the left side of the field. Casemiro gave up possession of the ball to Iwobi.
As he closed in on the goal, he had just one idea in his head, and it resulted in his low left-footed drive beating England’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at his near post. The sequence of events leading up to the goal was emblematic of the sloppy play that was peppered throughout an otherwise excellent game.
Everton’s 1,500th Premier League goal was scored by Alex Iwobi after Amadou Onana stole the ball from Casemiro and gave Demarai Gray the opportunity to charge forward. With Manchester United’s defence retreating, Gray set up his teammate to bend a shot inside David De Gea’s left-hand post for Everton’s 1,500th goal in the league.
However, Everton’s defence was quickly breached following another loss of possession; this time, the normally dependable Idrissa Gueye was the one to hand the ball over to Bruno Fernandes. This led to Everton’s downfall.
Martial started the counterattack, and then he made an appealing pass to Antony, who was standing to his right. Antony then slipped a shot past Pickford, making him the first United player since Ian Storey-Moore in 1972 to score in his first three league games.
That accomplishment was quickly exceeded. Martial eventually succumbed to an ailment that he had been dragging since the beginning, and Ronaldo came on as a substitute in the 29th minute after Pickford made a save on Christian Eriksen.
After Fernandes believed he had given the away team the lead after Vitalii Mykolenko’s fruitless attempt to dribble out of the penalty area, his first participation was to be called offside, which resulted in the offside call being made.
His second attempt was a feeble one that Pickford was able to easily save, but when Casemiro, who was left unmarked, missed a header from eight metres out, he made no mistake with his third attempt, which came one minute before halftime.
It was his 144th goal for United throughout two different stints, with the majority of his goals coming from his time at Real Madrid (450), followed by his goals for Juventus (101) and Sporting (5).
The overall level of play did not really improve in the second half, with United being unable to capitalise on its lead and Everton unable to pose much of a danger.
Even the long-awaited return of striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who made his first appearance of the season 15 minutes from the end of the game, and a debut for former United midfielder James Garner failed to make a difference in the game’s outcome.
Marcus Rashford scored a goal for Manchester United when Ronaldo flicked the ball on, but the goal was disallowed by the video assistant referee (VAR) for handball because James Tarkowski’s tackle caused the ball to land on Rashford’s arm. This allowed Everton to avoid additional punishment.
Everton’s six-game win streak came to an end when they were defeated by Manchester United after De Gea made a spectacular one-handed save to deny James Garner’s long-range attempt in stoppage time.