Sports Desk, May 2 (EFE).- Although booking a berth in the 2022-2023 Champions League seems at this stage like mission impossible, Manchester United on Monday showed they are determined to fight to the end.
Trailing fourth-place Arsenal by eight points coming into their third-to-last contest of the season, the Red Devils couldn’t afford to slip up against lowly Brentford and delivered a complete performance in a 3-0 win at Old Trafford.
Bruno Fernandes set the tone for the contest with a goal in just the ninth minute when he received a brilliant pass from Anthony Elanga and volleyed the ball home with his right foot.
Cristiano Ronaldo then appeared to double United’s lead shortly before halftime when he scored off a pass from Juan Mata, but the Portuguese superstar was ruled offside.
Shortly after the intermission, however, he got on the board when he was taken down in the area by Rico Henry and then converted the penalty opportunity himself in the 61st minute.
His shot from the penalty spot traveled into the left corner of the net as Brentford goalie David Raya was moving the other way.
The goal was Ronaldo’s 18th this season in the Premier League and his 24th overall for Manchester United in the 2021-2022 campaign.
With the game all but decided, French defender Raphael Varane then notched his first goal as a Red Devil in the 73rd minute to eliminate any remaining doubt about the outcome.
“We enjoyed the game. I think you could also see that the players enjoyed their performance. When we were in possession of the ball, that was one of the best performances we have showed in the last six months since I arrived,” interim head coach Ralf Rangnick said afterward.
With the win, Manchester United now have 58 points with two games remaining, five behind Arsenal, who are currently in position to grab the fourth and last 2022-2023 Champions League slot out of the Premier League.
Considering the Gunners have two games in hand on United, their main competitor for the last Champions slot are Tottenham, who also have four games remaining (the next two against Liverpool and Arsenal) and trail their London rival by just two points.
Manchester United have all but locked up a berth in next season’s Europa League. EFE