Cristiano Ronaldo won and converted a late penalty to help Manchester United to a 1-0 win over scrappy Norwich City at Carrow Road on Saturday.
Video Assistant Referee did not find enough to overturn the awarding of a penalty to Ronaldo for an awkward looking fall under arm contact from Max Aarons, and the Portuguese megastar’s vicious finish delivered the lead to Ralf Rangnick’s men.
The story of the game leading up to the goal was goalkeeping, as Norwich’s Tim Krul and United’s David De Gea traded terrific saves to keep the match 0-0.
United moves into fifth on 27 points, level with West Ham before the fourth-place Irons meet Burnley on Sunday.
Norwich remains on a league-low 10 points, tied with Newcastle and Burnley before the 18th- and 19th-place teams take the pitch Sunday.
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Norwich vs Manchester United final score, stats
Norwich City 0-1 Manchester United
Goals scored: Ronaldo 75′ (penalty)
Shots: Norwich City 8-10 Manchester United
Shots on target: Norwich City 4-5 Manchester United
Possession: Norwich City 44-56 Manchester United
Three things we learned from Norwich vs Manchester United
1. Goalkeepers’ delight: Perhaps it was most fitting that the game ended on a penalty, as 0-0 felt destined from the run of play given sensational goalkeeping from Tim Krul and David De Gea. Krul was the story of the early stages, but it was De Gea who would keep the Canaries at bay with several showstopping saves in the second half including two beauties to deny headers from Ozan Kabak.
2. Twilight Zone for USMNT forward Josh Sargent: The American forward hasn’t found his finishing boots since moving from Werder Bremen to Norwich City, but everything else remains the same. Sargent is running his physical and metaphorical socks off, but remains a servant to whether Milot Rashica (absent Saturday), Teemu Pukki, or the Canaries other shooters opt instead to set up the American. He’s still sloppy at times when driving the ball forward — as if he feels pressure to take advantage of whatever dribbling opportunities come his way — but the effort is there and his numbers amongst forwards make him look like an outstanding fullback of 1998-99.
3. United nearly runs out of gas: The Red Devils’ fitness levels under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be in question because Ralf Rangnick is asking his men to press hard and they looked exhausted by the early stages of the game. There’s an argument to be made that Norwich deserved a win better than their visitors, and Dean Smith will feel aggrieved by the outcome as well as the injury to Grant Hanley.
Man of the Match: David De Gea
The United keeper made five saves, all from shots inside the box, and is sincerely the main reason that Rangnick’s men were set to get anything — let alone three points — from the encounter.
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Imperfect penalty call, perfect penalty
Cristiano Ronaldo, like Mohamed Salah earlier Saturday, made a meal of contact from Max Aarons but executed that meal like a five-star chef to give himself the chance to give United the lead from the spot.
He did not miss, converting just his second club penalty kick since returning to United and doing so with vicious execution: Unstoppable stuff that might’ve taken off Tim Krul’s hand.
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 11, 2021