Ronaldo’s hat-trick bolsters Man U’s Champions League hopes

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo capped off his hat-trick with a stunning 76th-minute free-kick to give Manchester United a 3-2 win over Norwich on Saturday and bolster the team’s hopes of securing a berth. in the Champions League.

United overtook Arsenal in fifth place, three points behind Tottenham in the English Premier League.

United blew a two-goal lead after bottom-seeded Norwich fought back to level the game with goals from Kieran Dowell and Teemu Pukki at Old Trafford.

But the day belonged to the Portuguese superstar, who recorded the 50th hat-trick of his professional career for his clubs and 60th overall.

Ronaldo’s seventh-minute goal came courtesy of Anthony Elanga, who stole the ball from defender Ben Gibson in the box and slipped a pass to former goalkeeper Tim Krul. Ronaldo then headed home a corner in the 32nd. Ronaldo’s free kick from outside the area sailed through the wall and Krul’s outstretched hands into the top left corner of the net.

Just before half-time, Pukki’s cross from the left side was headed in by Dowell to give the visitors hope. Dowell then returned the favor in the 52nd with a pass to Pukki, who took two touches and beat goalkeeper David De Gea from the near side and the right post.

Norwich nearly took the lead but De Gea stretched to save Milot Rashica’s long-range effort.

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