CRISTIANO RONALDO seems to be getting the respect he deserves from Erik Ten Hag.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial came off the bench to rescue the Red DevilsCredit: Reuters
Karim Ansarifard shocked United by giving Omonia Nicosia the leadCredit: AFP
Erik ten Hag’s substitutes managed to save the gameCredit: AP
Cristiano Ronaldo is still waiting for his 700th club goal after being denied several timesCredit: Reuters
But after firing blanks, the Portuguese sensation needed to be bailed out by those warming his spot on the bench.
Super subs Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial put respectability back into United’s European campaign with second-half strikes to overturn what would have been one of the most embarrassing defeats in their history following a shock opener from Neil Lennon’s minnows.
Ronaldo teed up Rashford for his second but a shocking miss from six yards left the 37-year-old on 699 goals and counting.
With crocked pair Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane staying home with knocks, Ten Hag showed Lennon’s Omonia respect by selecting a strong line up including Casemiro, Anthony and Ronaldo.
And after being appointed back in March the Northern Irishman has already instilled a bit of Celtic grit onto his new side, who are also famous for parading in green and white.
After leading them to their first Cypriot Cup since 2012 last season, the former Hoops boss has rebuilt his reputation by dragging the club out of the shadow of their biggest rivals Apoel.
And that buoyancy was felt by the electric atmosphere awaiting the Red Devils in the Cypriot capital.
The GSP stadium on the outskirts of Nicosia could have sold out five times over as the club have been deprived of a must-see European opponent since facing the blue side of Manchester in 2008 in the Uefa Cup.
Lennon explained some of his players would struggle to not be starstruck against United after claiming most were fans.
But there were no signs of starry eyes as Omonia stood up to everything United threw at them in the opening stages.
United should have found themselves ahead after seven minutes after Anthony played in Ronaldo only for keeper Fabiano to block his low effort.
The Portuguese sensation was then denied again by the Brazilian following a clever turn inside the box.
But United’s terrible decision making was highlighted when Anthony‘s cut back left Bruno Fernandes with a gaping goal but the midfielder was a yard ahead of the pass.
The United skipper then looped an effort onto the bar for United’s best effort of the half before the home fans laughed at Ronaldo for blazing a free kick well over the bar.
Fabiano was back to his usual tricks after an outstretched finger pushed Anthony’s curling strike from distance round the post.
Omonia were on the ropes and a United goal felt imminent before the hosts showed them how to finish with their first real chance on 34 minutes.
Tyrell Malacia was caught napping on the ball after a cleared Christian Eriksen free kick.
Brazilian winger Bruno pushed the Dutch fullback aside in a fair challenge on the half way line before darting downfield on the counter before playing in a clever ball to Iranian forward Karim Ansarifard.
Ronaldo was left still waiting for his landmark goalCredit: AFP
The ex-Nottingham Forest man steadied himself with a touch before clipping the ball over David De Gea to send their passionate flag-bearing fans into a frenzy.
United were then lucky to not concede a penalty as Lisandro Martinez floored Brandon Barker by pulling his shirt before the ball struck his hand during a stressful goalmouth scramble.
Ten Hag hooked Sancho and Malacia at the break for Rashford and Luke Shaw.
And it did not take long for United to bear the fruits of the changes as Rashford
bulged the onion bag on 53 minutes after finding the bottom corner from 20 yards.
The Dutchman sent on Martial and his change paid off immediately as the Frenchman drilled into the bottom corner with his first touch just after the hour mark.
Out of nowhere again, the Cypriot hosts nearly levelled as Bruno spotted De Gea off his line but his tame chip failed to test the Spaniard.
But the miss of the game will be handed to Ronaldo after he found the post from six yards out after being given the whole goal to aim at following a cut back from Diogo Dalot.
He made amends with a clever cross-shot to allow Rashford to tap home for his second – but United were made to work for all three points after sub Nikoloas Panagiotou found the net five minutes before time to tee up a nervy finish.
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