Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Cristiano Ronaldo’s magical influence at Manchester United to NBA legend Michael Jordan when he scored twice in a 2-2 draw in Atlanta on Tuesday.
For the third time in four Champions League games since returning for a second spell at Old Trafford, Ronaldo saved United with a late goal as his girlfriend snatched a deserving point in Bergamo in the 91st minute.
The 36-year-old scored late winning goals at home to Villarreal and Atlanta, when United came down 2-0 to win 3-2 two weeks ago.
However, due to Ronaldo’s brilliant finishing, another undivided display will do little to ease the pressure on United boss Solskir.
“Ronaldo is one of the best players to have played this game. I’m sure the Chicago Bulls had the same feeling with Michael Jordan,” said Solscar, referring to the American star who spent two spells with the Bulls. Won six NBA titles.
“If you want the ball in someone’s hands at the last minute, it’s Cristiano. He’s done it for us many times and I’m fine he’s scored more goals than me.”
Ronaldo’s double surpassed Solskir’s 126 goals for the club.
Switzerland’s switch to the back three for a 3-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday provided some much-needed defensive stability after Liverpool’s humiliating 5-0 home defeat.
However, this was the Red Devils’ second clean sheet in just 22 games, and the issues at the back of them easily came to light again in Bergamo.
David de Gea has been one of United’s best performers of a very disappointing season so far, but he was mistaken as he let Joseph Elichic’s shot go under his body and over the line.
Duvan Zapata had two great chances to double the Italian lead, but Colombia fired the first high and wide shot before a brilliant block from Eric Bailey turned it down.
United suffered another blow when Rafael Varane was sent off in the middle of the first half with a recurrence of a back injury.
However, the individual quality in the United squad was a great equalizer in the first half’s stoppage time.
Mason Greenwood played for Bruno Fernandes, who outscored Ronaldo with a back heel for the Portuguese to score his eighth goal in 12 games since returning to Old Trafford in August.
But United have won just five of those games as Solskir struggles to find the right balance.
The offside flag was initially saved by United when Zapata finally found the net in the 11th minute of the second half.
After a two-minute review, when the goal was scored, the Guevara Stadium resounded with celebration.
Despite missing most of the service in the second half, Ronaldo delivered again in stoppage time.
Greenwood flicked the ball five times towards the balloon DR, which threw the ball into the bottom corner.
United even had a late chance to snatch all three points when substitute Donnie van de Beck was turned down by young Moussaou from a narrow angle.
But one point is enough to put them ahead of Villarreal on Group F’s top record, with both sides closing at seven points.
Atlanta is two points behind with two games left.