Cristiano Ronaldo scored a sublime volley and provided an equally brilliant assist as Manchester United edged Tottenham 3-0 in a clash dubbed “El Sackico”.
There was enormous pressure on both managers ahead of the game, but even more so for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after their 5-0 loss to Liverpool at Old Trafford last Sunday.
And Ronaldo, as he has done throughout his brilliant career, provided two moments of sheer brilliance that finally settled the game before substitute Marcus Rashford sealed the victory late.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner unleashed Bruno Fernandes’ magnificent pass on the fly in the first half before preparing Edinson Cavani to come home.
Substitute Marcus Rashford, who replaced Ronaldo after 71 minutes, returned home minutes from time to seal victory for Solskjaer’s side, who had taken just one point in their last four appearances before victory in North London.
Things look bleak for Nuno Espirito Santo, however, with taunts and boos aimed at the Spurs boss throughout the clash in what was a lackluster display from the Lilywhites.
With both managers under enormous pressure, the north London affair began inevitably cautiously.
However, the match came to life when Heung-min Son came close to winning the hosts’ opener with just over 20 minutes on the clock.
The South Korean pushed the bar at close range after being played over by Oliver Skipp.
United almost found the net moments later when Edinson Cavani’s looped header from Bruno Fernandes’ perfect cross came to a close to the left of the crossbar.
Spurs believed they had the lead when Cristian Romero pushed home from just two yards for the flag to be raised after a delay.
Fred made a thunderous effort towards the goal but Hugo Lloris did well to shoot for a corner.
And as always, when the big moment was needed, Ronaldo brilliantly hit compatriot Fernandes’ cross into the corner shortly before half-time to put the Red Devils ahead.
It was the fourth goal of the five-time Ballon d’Or season in the Premier League.
And former Norwich striker Dean Ashton, speaking on commentary duties, went lyrical on the playing track of the two Portuguese stars.
He said: “You can tell they have a special relationship, he sees Ronaldo rushing in and he makes a brilliant cross.
“The pass is perfect and Ronaldo doesn’t touch it, it’s just a lavish finish from Cristiano Ronaldo.”
After the break, Son fired a shot right off the post before Ronaldo thought he had his second by throwing a rocket into the top corner from an offside position.
Boos and chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’ to Nuno echoed through Tottenham Hotspur stadium when Lucas Moura, arguably Spurs’ most attacking player, was replaced by Steven Bergwijn with over 30 minutes to play.
Solskjaer trusted Cavani and Ronaldo up front and his selection proved to be a masterstroke as the latter also delivered when it mattered.
The former PSG striker brilliantly drugged a plunging Lloris after the Portuguese went back the years cutting inside Skipp and having him play on goal with a well-weighted pass.
Manchester United were ultimately the worthy winner of the game and moved up to fifth place in the Premier League table, while Spurs languish in eighth place.