Cristiano Ronaldo scored another late Champions League winner as Manchester United came from two goals down at half-time to beat Atalanta in a thriller at Old Trafford.
United came into the game with just one win in their last five games in all competitions and their poor form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked like continuing when the visitors inflicted two sucker punches through Mario Pasalic and Merih Demiral.
United, who kept Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso busy all evening, came out fighting in the second-half and were level through fine finishes from Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire, before another winning intervention from Ronaldo when he powered in a bullet header from a brilliant Luke Shaw cross.
The home side started brightly but fell behind 15 minutes in when former Chelsea duo Pasalic and Davide Zappacosta combined to give the former a tap in at the far post.
Fred’s powerful strike was then saved by Musso before Atalanta shocked Old Trafford with another goal as Demiral headed in from a corner to give his side a two-goal lead, one which really should have been reduced before half-time as Fred placed wide before Rashford clipped the crossbar.
United, who were 2-0 down at the break in a Champions League match for the very first time, were booed off but came flying out of the traps in the second-half.
Rashford placed a shot into the bottom corner after a brilliant through ball from Bruno Fernandes, and Solskjaer’s side were roared on by the home fans in search of an equaliser — McTominay hit a post and Musso denied Ronaldo before De Gea made a fabulous double stop to keep United in it.
The Spaniard saved brilliantly from Duvan Zapata and Ruslan Malinovskyi, and the hosts were level just four minutes later when Maguire swept home a cross from Fernandes.
There was only one winner from then on — and the third goal duly arrived when Ronaldo rose high to drive home a trademark header for his 137th Champions League goal and raise the roof at Old Trafford.
United now top the group, having been bottom for a period in the first-half, ahead of trips to Atalanta and Villarreal next.
(Photo: Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)
October 20, 2021 at 5:29 PM EDT
Thanks for joining us for tonight's match — you can find the story of the match above!
In short: Mr Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo, wins it again for Manchester United.
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3 – Cristiano Ronaldo has scored in three consecutive Champions League games for Manchester United for the second time, previously doing so in November 2007 en route to winning the trophy with the Red Devils. Inevitable. pic.twitter.com/eEYYnJpGV0
October 20, 2021 at 4:58 PM EDT
You can never rule out United in the Champions League!
3 – Manchester United have won a Champions League game from 2+ goals down for the third time – no side has done so more often in the competition (Arsenal also 3). Hustled. pic.twitter.com/NItwvpczXI
October 20, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
They were bottom at one point tonight, but Manchester United are now top of Group F!
A seismic second-half that has changed the landscape of the group.
What will that result do for United's season?
October 20, 2021 at 4:55 PM EDT
Ronaldo delivers again for Manchester United in the Champions League!
October 20, 2021 at 4:54 PM EDT
90+ 4 mins – Manchester United 3-2 Atalanta: Cavani picks up a yellow card.
Ronaldo then blocks a cross and implores the referee for the full-time whistle.
A shot is hopelessly sliced wide.
October 20, 2021 at 4:52 PM EDT
90+ 3 mins – Manchester United 3-2 Atalanta: A couple of fouls have broken up added time.
Matic is then booked for time wasting.
That might just do it…
October 20, 2021 at 4:49 PM EDT
90 mins – Manchester United 3-2 Atalanta: Four minutes are on the board.
Ronaldo's 137th Champions League goal looks to have made the difference.
What a comeback this has been.
October 20, 2021 at 4:47 PM EDT
88 mins – Manchester United 3-2 Atalanta: Matic is on for Fred, who looks to have damaged his hamstring.
The big Serbian is immediately into the action. heading behind a corner for another.
October 20, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT
85 mins – Manchester United 3-2 Atalanta: The home side go forward in search of a fourth to seal it.
All three United games in the Champions League have been absolutely packed with drama!
October 20, 2021 at 4:41 PM EDT
81 mins – Manchester United 3-2 Atalanta: THERE IS THE THIRD!!!!
Ronaldo rises above Palomino and powers a bullet of a header into the bottom corner!!!!
The roof has come off Old Trafford!!!!
(Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
October 20, 2021 at 4:39 PM EDT
80 mins – Manchester United 2-2 Atalanta: Nearly the third!
Fernandes cuts inside on his left foot and fires towards goal but Musso is there again!
Palomino then picks up a yellow card.
Giuseppe Pezzella is on for Koopmeiners.
October 20, 2021 at 4:36 PM EDT
77 mins – Manchester United 2-2 Atalanta: Atalanta were so close to making it 3-1, now United are chasing what would be a go-ahead goal.
October 20, 2021 at 4:34 PM EDT
75 mins – Manchester United 2-2 Atalanta: It's all square!
Maguire is there after another corner is cleared; Fernandes swings it back in and it finds its way to the centre-back who powers home at the back post!
October 20, 2021 at 4:32 PM EDT
74 mins – Manchester United 1-2 Atalanta: Maguire gets above Zapata and directs downwards but Musso can gather,
October 20, 2021 at 4:31 PM EDT
73 mins – Manchester United 1-2 Atalanta: Jadon Sancho replaces Greenwood.
Can he kick start his United career tonight?
October 20, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
71 mins – Manchester United 1-2 Atalanta: De Gea keeps United in it!
Zapata is too strong for Lindelof and powers one towards goal, but De Gea is there to stop it!
Malinovskyi then drives the rebound goalward, but the Spaniard tips over!
Palomino's shot is then deflected over. Huge moment.
October 20, 2021 at 4:27 PM EDT
68 mins – Manchester United 1-2 Atalanta: Ilicic and Pasalic are brought off by the visitors.
Miranchuk and Malinovskyi are on.
A defensive move from Atalanta.
October 20, 2021 at 4:25 PM EDT
66 mins – Manchester United 1-2 Atalanta: They've been getting ready for a while, and here they are.
Pogba for McTominay and Cavani for Rashford are the changes.
October 20, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT
64 mins – Manchester United 1-2 Atalanta: Another ball from Fernandes finds Ronaldo and his left-footed angled strike is low and pushed away by Musso!
Shaw picks up a yellow for bringing down Zappacosta moments later.
October 20, 2021 at 4:22 PM EDT
62 mins – Manchester United 1-2 Atalanta: The away side seem to have slightly weathered the early second-half storm.
Maehle has a go but it's wide, before Koopmeiners' strike deflects straight to De Gea.