Manchester : Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be the shining light in an otherwise disappointing season for Manchester United.
Make that 18 goals in the English Premier League for the Portugal superstar after he converted a penalty that he earned himself in a 3-0 victory over Brentford on Monday.
Ronaldo also had a goal disallowed at Old Trafford for a narrow offside as United saved one of its best performances of the season for its final home game. Bruno Fernandes and Raphael Varane with his first in English football were the other scorers.
The victory kept alive at least mathematically sixth-placed United’s chance of finishing in the top four and qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
United, though, has only two games remaining and is five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal and three behind Tottenham, with both rivals still having four to play.
Ronaldo, who has netted in each of his last four games, is third on the league’s list of top scorers behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (22) and Tottenham’s Son Heung-min (19).
And he’ll be back again next season, unlike some of the other players in United’s team.
United fans gave standing ovations to departing veterans Nemanja Matic and Juan Mata as they were substituted on their final Old Trafford appearances. It was also the last home game in charge for interim manager Ralf Rangnick, who will be replaced by Erik ten Hag during the offseason.
Monday marked a year since the postponement of United’s home match against Liverpool, when fans made clear their anger at the ownership of the Glazer family in the wake of the European Super League debacle.
Supporters have protested at each of United’s final three home games and the anti-Glazer sentiment was apparent before and during the victory against Brentford.
It was the first match that Brentford had lost with Christian Eriksen in the team and he pulled the strings in the London club’s first competitive match at Old Trafford since 1975.