Michael Owen has admitted his surprise over Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision-making in the build-up to his late winner for Manchester United against Villarreal.
Ronaldo stepped up in the fifth minute of added time to secure the Red Devils’ first Champions League win of the season.
Until the Portuguese superstar fire in, United had made hard work of breaking down Unai Emery’s visitors.
In fact, Paco Alcacer had put Villarreal in front early in the second-half after Arnaut Danjuma’s good work.
Alex Telles scored a stunning volley to equalise for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men seven minutes later, but it proved to be hard going for the hosts thereafter.
They were on the verge of going winless in their opening two games of the competition as the game entered its final stages.
But it is for moments like these that Ronaldo was bought from Juventus for in the summer transfer window.
And with the referee about to blow the final whistle on another frustrating night for Solskjaer’s side, the superstar duly delivered.
He first nodded Fred’s cross down to Jesse Lingard, who burst forward before passing the ball back to Ronaldo.
The 36-year-old then slotted in from a tight angle to claim a stunning win and save Solskjaer from more questions about his suitability for the United job.
But Owen, who won the Premier League and League Cup during a three-year stay at Old Trafford, was left surprised by one of Ronaldo’s decisions.
The former England international admitted he did not expect to see Ronaldo cushion the ball down to Lingard.
“I thought Cristiano Ronaldo was going to take a step back and bring it down on his chest, he heads it down to Jesse and gets it back and the rest is history what a finish,” he told BT Sport.
“Villarreal probably deserved something on the balance of play but the more and more and the longer the game went the more you fancied Man United and I was impressed with their energy.”
Owen also hailed Ronaldo for delivering when it mattered and score his fifth goal since returning to Old Trafford.
“You run out of superlatives for this man” Owen added.
“He did very, very little and I’m sure some people were thinking when the likes of Lingard, Cavani were getting warmed up is it going to Ronaldo?
“No. You can’t take that man off, just in case a chance crops up last minute and a chance cropped up and went in the back of the net what a man.”
Despite the win, United are still only third in Group F, having been defeated by Young Boys in their opening game, with Serie A side Atalanta their next European outing in mid-October.