After Jadon Sancho’s opener, Ronaldo doubled United’s lead in Moldova from the penalty spot in the first half – the 699th goal of his club career.
It was an important win for United after the Europa League loss to Real Sociedad last week, and it was a much-needed goal for Ronaldo, who struggled to earn a place in the starting XI under manager ‘Erik ten Hag.
“We could expect that when you miss pre-season, so he has to work very hard and invest to get the right physical condition. Then he will score more goals,” Ten Hag said of Ronaldo’s slow start .
“You can see he’s really close (and) when he gets fitter he’ll finish (his chances). I think (he’s) totally committed to this project and totally committed to this team, totally involved. “
United took the lead on Thursday with a well-worked move in the 17th minute. After a neat exchange of passes, Christian Eriksen found Sancho, who created space in the box to fire past Sheriff’s keeper Maksym Koval.
Sancho almost got a second later in the half, but saw his shot superbly cleared off the line by Stjepan Radeljić.
Moments later, however, Diogo Dalot was knocked down in the box, allowing Ronaldo to step up and extend United’s lead six minutes before half-time.
There were more chances for United in the second half, including midfielder Bruno Fernandes, but the scoreline remained 2-0.
“We did the job, and we know it’s always difficult to play here,” said ten Hag.
“We were really direct, but I also felt like we controlled the game – not from the first minute, but after 10 minutes we found our footing and managed to create spaces.”
With United’s weekend game against Leeds postponed after the Queen’s death, the team’s next game will be against derby rivals Manchester City on October 2.