Manchester’s 2-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol get their UEL campaign up and running.

After losing their opening Group E game to Real Sociedad 1-0 last Thursday at Old Trafford, it was vital United bounced back in Moldova and first-half goals from Sancho (17) and Cristiano Ronaldo (39) ensured they did just that.

Sancho finished off a fine move with a scuffed effort on his left after Christian Eriksen’s reverse pass, before Ronaldo scored the 699th goal of his club career – and first of the season – from the penalty spot on a comfortable evening for Erik ten Hag’s side.

“Ronaldo needed that goal,” Ten Hag told MUTV. “Many times he came close, but he wanted that so much. We are happy for him and the team wanted to bring him a goal. You know that Cristiano will score a penalty.”


The win – United’s third in a row on the road – moves the Premier League side up to second in the group behind Sociedad, while Sheriff drop to third but are level with United on three points.

United were second best in the opening stages of Thursday night’s game in Moldova, but managed to open the scoring 17 minutes in, as Sancho finished off a slick move for his third of the season, dedicating his goal to a young fan who had gifted him a pair of personalised shin pads.


Sancho was inches away from doubling his tally and United’s lead 37 minutes in after being picked out by Antony, when his side-footed effort beat Sheriff goalkeeper Maksym Koval only to be stopped on the line by captain Stjepan Radeljic.

Just two minutes later, Ronaldo doubled United’s lead from the penalty spot, sending Koval the wrong way as he went straight down the middle after a clumsy challenge by Sheriff defender Patrick Kpozo on Diogo Dalot.


Bruno Fernandes, who cut a frustrated figured all evening, tried to get in on the act in the second half, but his first-time effort after a low cross from Dalot was straight at Koval in the Sheriff goal.

Ronaldo thought Eriksen had teed him up for goal number 700 of his club career only for Radeljic to produce a vital touch to take the ball away from the 37-year-old international, who could only look up at the sky in disbelief.


Sheriff showed glimpses of quality in their build-up play, but failed to carve out any clear-cut chances or test David de Gea and it seems clear after two games that it will be Sociedad and United fighting for top spot, with the final match of the group in Spain set to be decisive.