Ronaldo the hero for United again; Gerry Thornley on Ireland’s autumn squad

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the winner in their Champions League match against Atalanta. Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates after scoring the winner in their Champions League match against Atalanta. Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

There are undoubtedly plenty of problems at Manchester United but if Cristiano Ronaldo keeps popping up in the big moments then this uncertain rollercoaster ride under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will rumble on. Last night it was the Portuguese again who popped up late on to head home and seal a 3-2 comeback win for United over Atalanta who had taken a 2-0 first half lead. While a small amount of boos were heard around the ground as the players went off at half-time, the United fans loudly stuck with their team and manager and it paid off in the end. Afterwards Solskjaer praised the supporters but the Norwegian also did say that his side must stop conceding such soft goals. Elsewhere, Chelsea overcame Malmo 4-0 at Stamford Bridge but the concern for Thomas Tuchel is the injuries to Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, both of who limped off during the match and look set for spells on the sidelines. This evening the Ireland women’s team take centre stage in Tallaght as they meet Sweden in a crucial World Cup qualifier. The Scandinavians are very much towards the top of the tree in the women’s game and Ireland face a huge task against the Olympic silver medalists, writes Gavin Cummiskey. One woman who knows first-hand just how impressive a system Sweden operate is Louise Quinn. The 31-year-old spent three seasons at Eskilstuna United and knows just what sort of a test Ireland will face tonight.

Moving to rugby and Gerry Thornley writes this morning that Ireland’s autumn Test squad runs along expected lines after Andy Farrell’s announcement yesterday. One of the standout names on the sheet was that of Simon Zebo who returns to the Ireland fold after his French exodus. “Zebo will, it seems, always polarise opinion between his legion of admirers and his critics. But he’s back in the fold and it’s not his fault that he’s been played on the left wing by Munster,” Thornley writes.

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