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Akanbi, Iyayi feature as Cristiano Ronaldo opens Europa League account for Manchester United

Red Devils defeat FC Sheriff to get Europa League campaign back on track

Cristiano Ronaldo got on the scoresheet for the first time in the Erik ten Hag era as Manchester United claimed a 2-0 win over Moldovan side FC Sheriff Tiraspol in their UEFA Europa League clash. The Red Devils picked up their first points of the season in the competition against the Moldovan side which featured two Nigerian attackers Akanbi Rasheed and Iyayi Believe Atiemwen.

Having lost in their opening game against Real Sociedad, Manchester United needed to win away from home against FC Sheriff to get their hopes of qualification back on track. The Moldovan side are no pushovers as they defeated Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League just last season.

Manchester United quickly settled into a dominant rhythm in the game and deservedly went in front through English winger Jadon Sancho in the 17th minute. The 22-year-old was set up by Christian Eriksen before slotting a fine finish into the back of the net to give his side the lead on a day when he was snubbed by England manager Gareth Southgate.

After going behind, FC Sheriff showed their quality in flashes as Nigerian striker Iyayi Believe sent a shot from distance narrowly wide of David De Gea’s goal following good work by his compatriot Akanbi Rasheed.

Sancho was denied a second following a goalline clearance by FC Sheriff captain Stjepan Radeljic after the English winger had sent an effort towards goal from inside the box.

The Red Devils finally made their dominance count as Diogo Dalot was upended in the box, earning his side a penalty. Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and blasted his kick straight down the middle in the 39th minute to score his first goal of the season. It was the Portuguese great’s 699th club goal and his first in the UEFA Europa League.

The Red Devils held on to claim their first points in the competition this season. They remain in second place, level on points with third-place FC Sheriff but ahead by virtue of a better head-to-head record. Real Sociedad remain on top of the group after their 2-1 win over Omonia FC.

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