Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick silences Spurs in 3-2 loss
Tottenham Hotspur fell victim to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick on Saturday, losing 3-2 to Manchester United at Old Trafford in Manchester despite controlling the ball for the majority of the game.
Production was the issue for Spurs, with 57 percent of the possession and 10 shots, but not a single goal coming from a successful play. Instead, the London club's two goals came from a 35th-minute Harry Kane penalty and a 72nd-minute Harry Maguire own goal.
Manchester United didn't have that problem. Although the two teams seemed evenly matched for most of the game, Ronaldo proved unstoppable. Scoring in the 12th, 38th and 81st minutes, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner single-handedly for the Manchester club.
Korean forward Son Heung-min came close to scoring a couple of times, with a 60th-minute effort that floated just wide probably one of Tottenham's best opportunities of the game.
Accuracy was an issue for Spurs, with only three of the clubs 10 shots actually on target, half the number that United managed from the same number of attempts.
"We have to be disappointed because after this type of performance, you deserve much more," Spurs manager Antonio Conte said after the game. “At the same time, we have to be realistic and to know that twice we were good enough to come back here against United, in this stadium, in this atmosphere, that’s not easy, and we were good to do this."
For United, the victory on Saturday was the club's 400th win at home in the Premier League, making it the first team to reach that milestone. Sadly for Spurs, 23 of those wins have been against the London club, also more than any club has beaten another at home in the history of the league.
Spurs now face another busy week with two Premier League fixtures; against Brighton on Wednesday and West Ham on March 20.
BY JIM BULLEY [firstname.lastname@example.org]