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David de Gea, late improvements give Man United win in Villarreal

Madrid, Nov 24 (IANS) Manchester United won 2-0 away to Villarreal thanks to goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho to book their place in the last-16 of the Champions League.

The win on Tuesday night comes just three days after the club sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and for much of the game United were second best to Villarreal, who dominated the ball only to be frustrated by several great saves from David de Gea.

Caretaker coach Michael Carrick made four changes from the 4-1 defeat at Watford on November 20 that cost Solskjaer his job, with Donny van de Beek, Anthony Martial, Fred and Alex Telles coming into his starting 11.

Meanwhile Danjuma, Pervis Estupinan, Moi Gomez and Yeremy Pino were all back for Villarreal, who started strongly with Gomez drawing a smart save from David de Gea before Yeremy fired into the side netting, Xinhua reports. De Gea was called into action again as Villarreal dominated the ball allowing Yeremy to set up Manu Trigueros for a first time shot that the Manchester United keeper again did well to parry.

United came into the game more as the half came to a close with Ronaldo heading Telles's cross straight at Geronimo Rulli in the Villarreal goal.

The second half got off to a slow start before Villarreal again took control and began passing their way through the United midfield. De Gea did brilliantly to get a hand onto Mio Gomez's deflected shot before Danjuma fired over.

That was the signal for Carrick to make a double change with Bruno Fernandes and Marcos Rashford on for Van de Beek and Martial, with Jadon Sancho forcing Rulli into a save after exchanging passes with Fernandes.

United improved after the changes and Ronaldo put them ahead 12 minutes from time after Rulli and Capoue made a mess playing the ball out from the back allowing Fred to make a challenge, with the ball falling kindly for Ronaldo to score.

Sancho assured the win with an excellent goal in the last minute, with the winner finishing off a swift break with a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area to ease the crisis at least in Europe.