Champions League - Group F
VillarrealVillarreal0Man UtdManchester United2

Villarreal 0-2 Manchester United: Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho goals seal last-16 spot

By Michael EmonsBBC Sport
It's not about me, it's about the result for Man United - Carrick

Manchester United interim boss Michael Carrick dedicated victory over Villarreal to former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as United booked their place in the Champions League last 16.

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho gave Carrick a win in his first game in temporary charge two days after Solskjaer was sacked.

"It's not been an easy couple of days for anyone at the club and that result almost feels like it's for Ole," said Carrick, a Champions League winner with United as a player in 2008.

"We had a job to do and things needed to be taken care of. I was happy to do it and thankfully it all went to plan.

"When you've suffered results-wise and aren't in good form, individually and as a team, it's not easy to come out and let everything click - we had to show some character and fight."

Ronaldo maintained his record of scoring in every game in this season's competition when he lifted the ball over goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli in the 78th minute, after Fred had dispossessed Etienne Capoue.

Sancho then sealed the victory in injury time, blasting a shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar.

However, United were indebted to goalkeeper David de Gea as he produced two superb one-handed saves, one in each half, to keep out well-struck efforts from Manu Trigueros when it was goalless.

United will progress as group winners with a game to spare after Atalanta could only draw 3-3 with Young Boys in the later game on Tuesday.

Man Utd win to lift the gloom

The result delighted United's travelling fans, with Carrick hugging his players at the final whistle as some of the gloom over the club lifted.

A bad run of form has left them eighth in the Premier League, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea, with Solskjaer's three years in charge coming to an end after an embarrassing 4-1 defeat by Watford on Saturday.

Carrick, Solskjaer's assistant, said on Monday he was not thinking about a chance to impress and earn the role on a full-time basis.

Before the game in Spain, former team-mate Paul Scholes, now a BT Sport pundit, was scathing of Carrick and fellow coaches Kieran McKenna and Mike Phelan, saying: "I would be embarrassed being on the staff now.

"They all should have gone - sacked or gone off their own back. They have let the club down as much as Ole has."

United have said they are looking to appoint an interim boss until the end of the 2021-22 campaign before potentially hiring a full-time manager after that.

Earlier on Tuesday, former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said he was "so happy" at current club Paris St-Germain and that he would not be distracted by links to the United job.

During the match, it was revealed former Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde had been contacted about the role of interim manager.

However, despite the off-field distractions and criticism, United secured their first clean sheet in 15 matches - only their second of the season - and whoever takes over will have Champions League football to look forward to in February.

Ronaldo again gets his side out of trouble

Solskjaer scored the winning goal for United in the 1999 Champions League final and, despite losing his job, remains a club legend and was still sung about by their fans.

Without him, Carrick made four changes from the 11 that began the loss to Watford, as Donny van de Beek was handed his first start in two months and Bruno Fernandes dropped to the bench.

Villarreal, managed by ex-Arsenal boss Unai Emery, are 12th in La Liga, having only won three of 13 domestic league matches, but were the better side in the first half and start of the second.

In a repeat of last season's Europa League final, which Villarreal won 11-10 on penalties in Solskjaer's solitary final as United boss, the hosts had good chances to take the lead.

Yeremi Pino fired into the side netting, Trigueros twice forced excellent one-handed saves from De Gea and Arnaut Danjuma twice shot over the bar as United came under pressure.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has scored six of Manchester United's 10 Champions League goals this season

But Ronaldo, whose 95th-minute goal gave United a 2-1 win against Villarreal in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in September, again made the difference with his sixth goal of this season's competition.

Rulli's clearance found Capoue, but the former Tottenham and Watford midfielder lost the ball to Fred, and it then fell to Ronaldo with the Portuguese forward quickly lifting it over Rulli for United's first.

Fred was again involved in United's second goal as he began the move, also involving substitutes Marcus Rashford and Fernandes, with the ball ending up at Sancho's feet.

The England international struck powerfully past Rulli for his first goal since his £73m summer move from Borussia Dortmund to clinch the victory and a last-16 place.

Player of the match

de GeaDavid de Gea

with an average of 7.81

Villarreal

  1. Squad number13Player nameRulli
    Average rating

    5.64

  2. Squad number8Player nameFoyth
    Average rating

    5.59

  3. Squad number4Player nameTorres
    Average rating

    5.55

  4. Squad number3Player nameAlbiol
    Average rating

    5.49

  5. Squad number5Player nameParejo
    Average rating

    5.39

  6. Squad number21Player namePino
    Average rating

    5.37

  7. Squad number15Player nameDanjuma
    Average rating

    5.33

  8. Squad number12Player nameEstupiñán
    Average rating

    5.32

  9. Squad number6Player nameCapoue
    Average rating

    5.32

  10. Squad number14Player nameManu Trigueros
    Average rating

    5.29

  11. Squad number23Player nameMoi Gómez
    Average rating

    5.20

  12. Squad number11Player nameChukwueze
    Average rating

    4.92

  13. Squad number16Player nameDia
    Average rating

    4.75

  14. Squad number18Player nameMoreno
    Average rating

    4.56

  15. Squad number17Player nameDani Raba
    Average rating

    4.56

Manchester United

  1. Squad number1Player namede Gea
    Average rating

    7.81

  2. Squad number7Player nameCristiano Ronaldo
    Average rating

    7.71

  3. Squad number25Player nameSancho
    Average rating

    7.63

  4. Squad number18Player nameBruno Fernandes
    Average rating

    7.29

  5. Squad number10Player nameRashford
    Average rating

    7.12

  6. Squad number34Player namevan de Beek
    Average rating

    6.83

  7. Squad number17Player nameFred
    Average rating

    6.35

  8. Squad number2Player nameLindelöf
    Average rating

    6.08

  9. Squad number39Player nameMcTominay
    Average rating

    6.08

  10. Squad number27Player nameAlex Telles
    Average rating

    6.04

  11. Squad number29Player nameWan-Bissaka
    Average rating

    5.99

  12. Squad number8Player nameMata
    Average rating

    5.88

  13. Squad number31Player nameMatic
    Average rating

    5.72

  14. Squad number9Player nameMartial
    Average rating

    5.30

  15. Squad number5Player nameMaguire
    Average rating

    5.08

Line-ups

Villarreal

Formation 4-4-2

  • 13Rulli
  • 8Foyth
  • 3Albiol
  • 4Torres
  • 12EstupiñánSubstituted forRaba Antolínat 79'minutes
  • 21PinoBooked at 33minsSubstituted forChukwuezeat 73'minutes
  • 6Capoue
  • 5Parejo
  • 23Gómez BardonadoSubstituted forDiaat 84'minutes
  • 14Trigueros MuñozSubstituted forMorenoat 73'minutes
  • 15Danjuma

Substitutes

  • 1Asenjo
  • 2Pérez Martínez
  • 9Alcácer
  • 10Iborra
  • 11Chukwueze
  • 16Dia
  • 17Raba Antolín
  • 18Moreno
  • 20Peña
  • 22Mandi
  • 24Pedraza
  • 31Álvarez de Eulate Molne

Man Utd

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1de Gea
  • 29Wan-Bissaka
  • 2Lindelöf
  • 5Maguire
  • 27Telles
  • 17Fred
  • 39McTominay
  • 25SanchoSubstituted forMataat 90+3'minutes
  • 34van de BeekBooked at 41minsSubstituted forBruno Fernandesat 66'minutes
  • 9MartialSubstituted forRashfordat 66'minutes
  • 7Cristiano RonaldoSubstituted forMaticat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Bailly
  • 8Mata
  • 10Rashford
  • 14Lingard
  • 16Diallo
  • 18Bruno Fernandes
  • 20Dalot
  • 22Heaton
  • 26Henderson
  • 31Matic
Referee:
Dr. Felix Brych
Attendance:
20,875

Match Stats

Home TeamVillarrealAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home13
Away11
Shots on Target
Home3
Away6
Corners
Home8
Away6
Fouls
Home9
Away5

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Villarreal 0, Manchester United 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Villarreal 0, Manchester United 2.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Juan Mata replaces Jadon Sancho.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Juan Foyth.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Nemanja Matic replaces Cristiano Ronaldo.

  6. Goal!

    Goal! Villarreal 0, Manchester United 2. Jadon Sancho (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Bruno Fernandes following a fast break.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Pau Torres.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Pau Torres.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Gerónimo Rulli.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Cristiano Ronaldo.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Villarreal. Boulaye Dia replaces Moi Gómez.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Etienne Capoue (Villarreal) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Alberto Moreno with a cross following a corner.

  15. Post update

    Corner, Villarreal. Conceded by Scott McTominay.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Fred (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Juan Foyth.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal).

  19. Post update

    Fred (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Villarreal. Dani Raba replaces Pervis Estupiñán.

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