Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sublime hat-trick to power Manchester United past Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 at the theater of dreams.
Ronaldo, who was returning to the lineup after missing the Manchester Derby, opened the scoring for the hosts in the 12th minute. The Portuguese hit a rocket of a shot past a diving Hugo Lloris to give United an early lead.
Spurs grew more comfortable after Ronaldo’s opener. Ben Davies’ strike was ruled out for offside before Diogo Dalot had to head away another Spurs effort off his on goal line.
The visitors’ efforts were rewarded shortly after the half-hour mark when Harry Kane beat David De Gea from the penalty spot to make it 1-1.
United then retook the lead ahead of the break. Ronaldo smashed home a first-time shot from a Jadon Sancho pass across the six-yard box in a counter-attack from Ralf Rangnick’s side. The two first-half goals from Ronaldo were his 805th and 806th, passing Josef Bican for the most in competitive matches.
Tottenham continued to push for an equalizer and a Harry Maguire own goal got Antonio Conte’s side back on level terms as the second half wore on.
However, Ronaldo wasn’t done scoring on the night. He out jumped Tottenham’s defenders from a corner kick and powered a header into the top corner to give United the lead and all three points to stay in the hunt for a top four finish.
The result puts Man United in fourth place in the table on 50 points from 29 matches, two ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal, who have four games in hand.
They will now turn their focus towards beating Atletico Madrid who are coming of a win as well in La Liga.
The missed points for Tottenham leave them in seventh place with 45 points from 27 games played.