Manchester United def Burnley, score, result, Cristiano Ronaldo, goal, video, highlights

Manchester United triumphed to a morale-boosting 3-1 win over Burnley on the eve of Alex Ferguson’s 80th birthday on Friday (AEDT) to bolster their push for a Premier League top-4 spot.

Scott McTominay put United in front early and a Ben Mee own goal doubled their lead before Cristiano Ronaldo finished shamelessly putting Ralph Rangnick’s men ahead 3-0.

Veteran winger Aaron Lennon punctured the party atmosphere at Old Trafford towards the end of the first half, giving Sean Dyche’s fighting Burnley hope, but United largely dominated the second period.

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The Red Devils are now four points behind Arsenal in fourth place with one game left after interim manager Rangnick shook his team after a disappointing draw in Newcastle.

Rangnick, who is still undefeated since the takeover from the fired Ole Gunnar Solskjær, made six changes, mixed his defense and started Jadon Sancho and Edinson Cavani in the attack.

Bruno Fernandes was suspended after receiving a fifth yellow card in the league season.

Cristiano Ronaldo does it again.
Cristiano Ronaldo does it again.Source: Getty Images

Burnley have suffered a series of postponements due to coronavirus and a snow-bound track, and Covid-19 again disrupted Dyche’s plans at Old Trafford.

Dyche, whose team had not played since December 12, confirmed before the match that Josh Brownhill, Nick Pope, Jay Rodriguez and Kevin Long had missed the game after testing positive for the virus.

Both teams got off to a bright start to the match, with Burnley’s Chris Wood heading over from close range and Ronaldo laying his foot over with only the goalkeeper to strike after a fine pass from the recalled Luke Shaw.

United opened the scoring in the eighth minute as Mason Greenwood cut the ball back to the edge of the box, with Ronaldo’s first touch falling for McTominay, who struck a sweet right-footed shot past Wayne Hennessey.

The home side extended their lead in the 27th minute ahead of former manager Ferguson, who was at the helm the last time they won the Premier League, in 2013.

Sancho was freed on the left by Shaw, and the former Borussia Dortmund player cut inside his right foot before hitting a low shot that put itself in the corner via a small touch from Burnley captain Mee.

An excellent McTominay effort was met by a similarly impressive stop by the flying Hennessey, who tipped the attack on a post only for Ronaldo to respond by flicking the loose ball into an empty net with the outside of his right boot.

The goal seemed to have ended the victory for United, but their porous defense cashed in again as Lennon produced a clinical finish to beat David de Gea after a fine run.

The second half started at a slower pace, but the confident McTominay again tried his luck from range shortly after the hour mark, forcing Hennessey to topple.

United were largely in control for the rest of the match as they finished 2021 at a high level despite a couple of late scares.

The defeat leaves Burnley stuck in relegation problems, third from the bottom of the table with just a single Premier League win all season.

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