Cristiano Ronaldo scores in Manchester United return as Europa League progress is assured

Cristiano Ronaldo scored on his first Manchester United appearance since his refusal to come on as a substitute last week in a 3-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on Thursday.

The victory, with goals from Diogo Dalot and Marcus Rashford adding to Ronaldo's strike, guaranteed the Red Devils a place in the next round, where they will join Barcelona, which was knocked out of the Champions League at the group stage 24 hours earlier.

United manager Erik ten Hag left the Portugal forward out of the United squad for Saturday's draw at Chelsea, and he was only allowed to return to first team training this week.

"Seeing Ronaldo get his goal was great," ten Hag told BT Sport. "He created, the team created for him and we know he has the capability to finish.  He needed a goal and now I'm confident there will be more goals."

Ronaldo, 37, started up front with 18-year-old Argentinian winger Alejandro Garnacho, who was making his maiden senior start.

Right-back Dalot opened the scoring just before the break before Rashford doubled the lead with 25 minutes to play. Ronaldo claimed his 701st club career goal and made sure of the three points with nine minutes left.

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Arsenal, which has already reached the last 16, lost for the first time in the group stage as the Gunners went down to a 2-0 defeat at PSV Eindhoven.

Manager Mikel Arteta said afterwards that defender Pablo Mari, on loan at Italian club Monza, was having medical treatment after being stabbed in a Milan shopping center in an attack which killed one person and injured three others.

"I just found out," Arteta told reporters. "He is in hospital. He seems to be OK. I will get a briefing now about what happened."

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Surprise early-season Bundesliga leader Union Berlin kept alive its hopes of a place in the knockout round of the second-tier European competition thanks to a 1-0 win over Braga.

In the Conference League, West Ham maintained its 100 percent record by beating Silkeborg 1-0 and Fiorentina clinched their spot in the last 16 with a 2-1 win over Istanbul Basaksehir.

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In their first match since Coach Unai Emery announced he was leaving to manage Premier League club Aston Villa, Villarreal dropped points for the first time in Europe this season.

Despite having already qualified for the last 16 as group winners, it was held 2-2 by Hapoel Beer-Sheva as Sagiv Jehezkel equalized in the 79th minute.

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In Group D, Cologne's trip to Slovacko has been postponed until Friday after the game had been originally delayed by half an hour due to heavy fog in the Czech Republic.

The teams managed just seven minutes of play before the referee abandoned the game with the score goalless.


© Agence France-Presse

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