'Holy cow': Football world in meltdown over Cristiano Ronaldo moment

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·Sports Editor
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Cristiano Ronaldo, pictured here scoring the winner for Manchester United against Villareal.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner for Manchester United against Villareal. Image: Getty/Optus Sport

Cristiano Ronaldo has sent the football world into meltdown with an incredible last-gasp winner to rescue Manchester United in their Champions League clash with Villareal.

Ronaldo capped his record-breaking Champions League appearance by firing United to a stunning late comeback 2-1 win.

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The Portuguese star snatched the victory five minute into stoppage time, when he met a smart Jesse Lingard touch with an unerring finish from an acute angle.

The winner send Old Trafford into a frenzy on the night Ronaldo broke Iker Casillas' all-time Champions League appearances record.

It was a box-office end to his 178th appearance in the competition and a relief to all those connected with United, after David de Gea had to produce some superb saves to keep Villarreal at bay in a one-sided first half.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were staring down the barrel of another embarrassing group stage exit after falling behind early in the second half to Paco Alcacer's smart finish.

Alex Telles' stunning strike quickly levelled, but United looked set to drop more points in Group F until Ronaldo's late intervention.

Despite the result, there was little in the performance to quell the growing questions as to whether Solskjaer is the man to get the best out of a squad of supremely talented individuals that are yet to click as a collective.

"That's what happens at Old Trafford, we had to throw caution to the wind and got lucky in the end," said Solskjaer.

"When you've got Cristiano on the pitch there is always a chance."

Ronaldo's stunning late winner sent fans into meltdown on social media.

Barcelona suffer worst Champions League start ever

Matteo Pessina scored the only goal of the game as Atalanta secured a 1-0 home win over Young Boys in the group's other game.

Meanwhile. Barcelona made their worst start to a Champions League campaign ever after falling 3-0 at Benfica in Group E.

The Portuguese side dealt a further blow to Ronald Koeman, with Barcelona slumping to their second successive defeat in the competition as they also finished the match with 10 men - Eric Garcia sent off late on.

Cristiano Ronaldo, pictured here after scoring the winner for Manchester United.
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring the winner for Manchester United. (Photo by Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Darwin Nunez netted in the third minute and capped off his side's scoring with a penalty in the 79th, with Rafa Silva striking in between.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski scored twice as the German champions crushed Dynamo Kyiv 5-0 at home to secure their ninth consecutive win in all competitions.

Federico Chiesa's rocket finish stunned Chelsea in Turin as Juventus made it two wins from as many starts in Group H.

Zenit St Petersburg stormed to a 4-0 thrashing of 10-man Malmo to be level on three points with Chelsea.

And RB Salzburg secured a 2-1 win over Lille in Group G, while substitute Ivan Rakitic scored a late penalty equaliser to ensure Sevilla secured a 1-1 draw at 10-man Wolfsburg.

with agencies

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