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Manchester United were dug out of a hole by Anthony Elanga in their Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night. The 22-year-old struck in the closing stages of the contest, coolly slotting past Jan Oblak after Joao Felix had put the hosts in front. And Cristiano Ronaldo, on his return to the Spanish capital, was delighted at the youngster’s important contribution.
It certainly wasn’t Manchester United at their vintage best against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.
Yet Ralf Rangnick’s side showed guts and guile at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, passing a character test at the very least.
It looked as though it would be a long evening for the Red Devils when Felix struck in the seventh minute, with the Portugal international expertly heading home.
But Elanga, on as a substitute, netted in the 80th minute to earn a draw for his side.
United players were delighted for their team-mate, who has now scored three goals this season – with all of his efforts coming under Rangnick.
And that includes Ronaldo, too.
THINK YOU KNOW SPORT? Test your sporting knowledge with our tricky quizMan Utd news Elanga Ronaldo Atletico Madrid
Sometimes, over the years, the Portugal international has been subdued when it’s not him stealing the show or making the headlines.
That winning mentality has seen him score 802 times throughout his career, figures only other players can merely dream of.
Ronaldo’s winning mindset is something to be appreciated, with the 37-year-old usually coming up with the goods over the past two decades.
Against Atletico, he was unable to make much of an impact himself.
But video footage uploaded by Twitter user CristianoXtra shows the veteran throwing his arms into the air and running towards his team-mates.
Ronaldo was given a hostile reception upon turning out in the Spanish capital, having previously spent nine years with Real Madrid.
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Barcelona star De Jong ends Klopp transfer messageMan Utd news Elanga Ronaldo Atletico MadridHis every touch sparked a chorus of boos and jeers, while he cut a frustrated figure throughout the contest.
However, Ronaldo did still applaud fans upon walking down the tunnel and he’ll be hoping to fire his side through in the return leg.
Elanga, meanwhile, admitted he was enjoying his football and grateful to Rangnick after he was given the chance to play on such a big stage.
“Think it was my first touch as well,” he told BT Sport when quizzed on his goal.
“I have dreamt of moments like this, scoring in the Champions League against top European teams like Atletico Madrid, a dream come true.
“It is only first half, we have to be ready for the second half at Old Trafford.Man Utd news Elanga Ronaldo Atletico Madrid“I told you how calm and cool I am and whenever I am given an opportunity I want to repay the manager and give 150 per cent everytime I step onto the pitch.
“I just do what I can do, I want to be the best player on the pitch and I appreciate the boss.
“You’ve got to stay in the game, anything can happen.
“We did not play the best in the first half, but improved after the substitutions in the second half.
“He (Ralf Rangnick) said to me to make the defenders scared and run in behind.Man Utd news Elanga Ronaldo Atletico Madrid“When I get the opportunity to take it. I wanted a good result for the fans because they came a long way.”
David De Gea lauded Elanga after his heroics, saying he’s become an ‘important’ player for the club.
“He is playing very well, he has been an important player for us, still very young and has scored important goals for us,” he said.
“Massive for him and for us.
“The second leg will be 50-50, both teams can win but with the fans hopefully we can play better than today. Let’s win the game and be in the next round.”
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