Sports Desk, Mar 12 (EFE).- Cristiano Ronaldo scored three times Saturday to carry Manchester United 3-2 past Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford and set the new FIFA record for most goals by a player in men’s soccer.
The performance of the 37-year-old Portuguese international lifted United over Arsenal into fourth place in the Premier League with 50 points, 2 better than the Gunners, who have four games in hand.
With 43 points, Spurs are seventh.
Cristiano’s time away in Portugal after missing the Manchester derby appeared to have rejuvenated the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who opened the scoring in the 12th minute with an exquisite strike from 30 yards.
Harry Kane brought the visitors level in the 35th minute, converting a penalty after Alex Telles blocked a Dejan Kulusevski cross with his arm.
But Ronaldo reclaimed the lead three minutes later with his second goal of the game and the 806th of his career, shattering the FICA record of 805 established decades ago by Austria’s Josef Bican (1913-2001).
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made stops against Jadon Sancho and Ronaldo to keep the deficit to one goal and the equalizer materialized in the 72nd minute courtesy of United defender, who inadvertently redirected a ball from Sergio Reguilon into his own net.
Worry took hold among the crowd, which included just-retired NFL great Tom Brady, but Ronaldo produced some more magic, heading in a Telles corner in the 81st minute for what would prove to be the match winner.
Earlier Saturday, Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah scored to give Liverpool a 2-0 triumph against Brighton & Hove Albion that momentarily cut the gap between the Reds and leaders Manchester City to 3 points.
It was the Colombian newcomer who set Liverpool on the path to victory, heading home a great long pass from Joel Matip in the 19th minute.
In a failed bid to prevent Diaz from scoring, keeper Robert Sanchez brought the Colombian down with a flailing tackle, but the referee ruled no foul.
Shortly after the one-hour mark, the Egyptian king successfully delivered from the 12-yard spot for his 20th Premier League goal to strengthen his grip as the competition’s top scorer, eight clear of his closest rival.
The victory got Liverpool back on track after losing to Inter Milan in the second leg of the Champions League last-16. Despite the defeat, the English club advanced to the quarterfinal thanks to a 2-0 first-leg victory.
The win brings Liverpool’s tally to 66 points, with a match in hand, just three points behind Manchester City, who face Crystal Palace on Monday. Brighton are 13th with 33 points. EFE