Man Utd 3-0 Sheriff: Player ratings as Cristiano Ronaldo returns with goal

Ronaldo eventually got on the scoresheet
Ronaldo eventually got on the scoresheet / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the starting XI with a goal as Manchester United officially confirmed a top-two spot in Group E of the Europa League with victory over Sheriff.

Approaching the end of a first half they dominated from start to finish, United eventually went in front when Diogo Dalot headed in Christian Eriksen's corner.

Substitutes Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford combined for the latter to head in United's second before Ronaldo ended a night of misses by making it 3-0.

Sheriff set their stall out early on by keeping all 11 players behind the ball before the first real action of the game, which saw Casemiro elbowed in the mouth by Ibrahim Rasheed.

United carved out a major opening when Bruno Fernandes headed Victor Lindelof's raking pass across goal for Ronaldo, who fluffed his shot which was smothered by visiting goalkeeper Maksym Koval.

Eriksen, who dictated the tempo all evening, tested Koval with a long-range strike before the follow-up from Fernandes was kept out.

The breakthrough came at the end of a frustrating first half for the hosts as Sheriff were undone at a set piece. Eriksen's fizzed corner was met by Dalot, who glanced his header into the far corner.

Ronaldo suffered more frustration on his return as he blazed high and wide and saw another effort chalked off for offside before United extended their lead.

Some quick build-up play saw Shaw pick out Rashford, who powered in a header for his sixth goal of the season, overtaking his haul from the 2021/22 campaign.

The scoring was rounded off inside the final ten minutes as Ronaldo finally ended a frustrating outing by smashing in United's third on the rebound, having seen his initial header saved. United now have a group decider with Real Sociedad - who beat Nicosia 2-0 on Thursday night - on the sixth Europa League matchday.

The eight teams who win their groups reach the last 16 automatically, leaving the other eight to be placed into a draw for the knockout round play-offs with the eight teams who finish third in the Champions League group stage.

The eight group stage runners-up are seeded in the draw, while Champions League dropouts are unseeded.

United lost to current Group E leaders Real Sociedad 1-0 at Old Trafford, so the Red Devils would need a big win in Spain on the final matchday of the group stage to overhaul them into first place

Manchester United players ratings vs Sheriff - Europa League

1. Manchester United (4-2-3-1)

GK: David de Gea - 6/10 - On the day De Gea retires, he'll have many memorable matches to look back on. This won't be one - he had very little to do.

RB: Diogo Dalot - 8/10 - Had plenty of licence to attack and showed his worth in the final third with the opener from the corner.

CB: Victor Lindelof - 8/10 - Brought the ball out of defence nicely while also picking out some lovely raking passes.

CB: Lisandro Martinez - 7/10 - Recovered the ball with authority before going off at half time.

LB: Tyrell Malacia - 7/10 - Had some trouble with Atiemwen but was generally high up the pitch as United dominated the ball.

CM: Christian Eriksen - 8/10 - Dictated the pace of the game and created chances, including an assist with a corner to Dalot.

CM: Casemiro - 7/10 - Took a whack to the face early on but soldiered through and helped United dominate in midfield.

RW: Antony - 6/10 - Got one shot on target away in the first half before coming off. Did his trademark spin and then smacked the ball off the pitch at one point, which was funny.

AM: Bruno Fernandes - 7/10 - Teed up Ronaldo with an aware header and delivered some dangerous crosses into the box.

LW: Alejandro Garnacho - 7/10 - Showed his exciting dribbling skills and linked up nicely on occasion with his attacking colleagues.

ST: Cristiano Ronaldo - 7/10 - Had endured a tough night with a few poor finishes and a goal disallowed for offside, but got United's third to end his return on a positive note.

SUB: Marcus Rashford (46' for Antony) - 7/10 - Finished well from Shaw's cross to effectively seal the result.

SUB: Harry Maguire (46' for Martinez) - 4/10 - Made his return from injury. Largely untroubled but also got booked for a flailing elbow.

SUB: Luke Shaw (62' for Dalot) - 7/10 - Bombed on forward and set up Rashford with a great cross.

SUB: Scott McTominay (63' for Casemiro) - 6/10 - Had one header remarkably saved by Koval.

SUB: Donny van de Beek (79' for Garnacho) - 5/10 - This guy still exists!

Manager: Erik ten Hag - 7/10 - His side had 24 shots and zero against. It was a mismatch which Ten Hag successfully navigated - thoughts will now turn to the last game against Real Sociedad.

Player of the Match: Diogo Dalot