MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo scored only his second Manchester United hat trick to clinch a 3-2 victory over Tottenham, sending his team fourth in the Premier League.
Ronaldo made an instant impact returning from injury, striking from 25 yards (meters) in the 12th minute in front of retired NFL great Tom Brady at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Although Harry Kane leveled from a penalty in the 35th after Alex Telles handled Dejan Kulusevski’s cross, United was back in front three minutes later. Nemanja Matic released Jadon Sancho who cut across for Ronaldo to strike past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Tottenham was gifted an equalizer when United captain Harry Maguire diverted Sergio Reguilón’s cross into his own net in the 72nd.
But then Ronaldo jinked away from Cristian Romero and leapt above Matt Doherty to meet a corner from Telles with a thundering header in front of the Stretford End to clinch the win in the 81st.
Ronaldo is in his first season back at United from Real Madrid, and this was his first hat trick for United since January 2008.
While United moved into the fourth Champions League place, Tottenham is five points behind in seventh.