Liverpool icon Pepe Reina explains why Cristiano Ronaldo’s winner should be ruled out
In pictures: Man Utd v Villarreal
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Former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina took to social media to vent his frustration regarding Cristiano Ronaldo’s last-gasp winner against Villarreal on Wednesday night. Manchester United were fortunate to rescue three points at the death, and the Spaniard pointed out that Jesse Lingard could have impeded the goalkeeper’s sight from an offside position.
United were completely outplayed in the first half, although Unai Emery’s Villarreal were victims of their own poor finishing.
The Yellow Submarine finally broke the deadlock after half time through Paco Alcacer, stunning Old Trafford into silence.
It took a moment of brilliance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to work their way back into the match, with Alex Telles’ stunning volley finding the bottom corner.
Then, in true Red Devils style, Cristiano Ronaldo popped up in the dying minutes to fire home from close range and bail his side out.
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There seemed to be no clear breach of the rules, until replays showed Jesse Lingard lying in an offside position in front of goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli.
“Offside all day long,” said Reina who made almost 400 appearances for bitter rivals Liverpool.
“A player who is on the ground in front of you effects the stopping action without a doubt! I would have felt harmed.
“Anyway, the game was beautiful and Villarreal fell with great honour!!”
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There was a brief VAR check when players returned to the centre-circle, although the referee decided there was nothing doing and the goal stood.
It would have brought rapturous celebrations at Old Trafford to an abrupt halt, with Ronaldo only just putting his shirt back on after embracing the fans.
United somehow managed to leave with the three points, but questions will still be asked of a lacklustre performance on Wednesday night.
The result will be absolutely invaluable for Solskjaer and his side after losing their opening Champions League tie to Young Boys, but Villarreal were the far superior side.
They now emerge from a torrid run, which saw them lose three of their past four games, by the skin of their teeth.
It could easily have been four losses in five if Emery’s side had their shooting boots on.
Still, United have newfound momentum which they will undoubtedly aim to carry into Saturday’s showdown with Everton.
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