Cristiano Ronaldo scored an excellent equaliser to spare Manchester United a third successive Premier League defeat as they drew 1-1 at home to Chelsea on Thursday.
Ralf Rangnick’s side lost their previous two games to Liverpool and Arsenal by an aggregate score of 7-1 and, while the performance on their return to Old Trafford was by no means impressive, they at least avoided another loss.
Despite a dismal first-half showing in which their midfield was routinely cut open, United somehow made it until the break without conceding, though Chelsea’s deserved breakthrough did arrive via Marcos Alonso with an hour played.
But Ronaldo – who has been responsible for five of their six Premier League goals this month – swiftly restored parity against the run of play and Thomas Tuchel’s men failed to regain the lead.
Chelsea dominated the first half almost from start to finish, with a brief moment of United pressure culminating in Ronaldo putting a close-range bicycle-kick over.
Otherwise, United had to rely on wasteful Chelsea finishing and David de Gea to keep the scoreline level, with the Spaniard crucially blocking Kai Havertz’s goal-bound effort with his midriff after the Blues carved through the hosts with ease.
Havertz went close again nine minutes before half-time, heading Reece James’ cross right at De Gea.
Little changed after the restart – except Chelsea finally made their pressure count after 60 minutes, as Alonso smashed a volley into De Gea’s bottom-left corner.
But few would have anticipated what happened just two minutes later, with Ronaldo latching on to Nemanja Matic’s scooped pass and hammering home an equaliser.
Chelsea might have clinched a deserved late winner, but James’ curling effort clipped the outside of the post.