Cristiano Ronaldo scored Manchester United’s opener and a late goal for Jadon Sancho was a breakout moment for the young winger.

Lost amid United’s ruthless second half attacking display, was a match-turning critical save from David de Gea.

With the scores locked at 0-0 and United up until this point struggling to create chances, Villarreal themselves carved out a second half scoring opportunity.

Manu Trigueros connected sweetly with a half volley from just inside the penalty area, directing the ball powerfully and low towards the bottom corner.

david de gea save v villarreal
(Photo by Maria Jose Segovia/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

United fans took a deep breath, and instead of seeing the net bulge, supporters were able to cheer an outstanding save from the Spaniard.

De Gea got a strong outstretched palm on the ball to deny the strike and push it away.

The goalkeeper’s reflexes kept United from going behind and ensured the team were able to go on later in the half and score the crucial goals to win the match.

 

Caretaker manager Michael Carrick told the club website: “David [De Gea]’s had to make a save or two for us and keep us in the game when he has to.”

One of the world’s best shot stoppers

De Gea is playing very well right now, brimming with confidence. He showed that with two penalty saves against Watford.

Eventually he was worn down against the Hornets as United’s leaky defence was breached time and time again, just like it was against City.

Last night showed that so long as United defend well and limit chances for the opposition, De Gea will act as a final barrier for opponents.

When he is playing like this, De Gea is one of the world’s best, and he will be doing all he can to win back his place as Spain number one ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

david de gea save v villarreal
(Photo By Ivan Terron/Europa Press via Getty Images)

De Gea’s role in United’s victory wasn’t as glamourous as Ronaldo’s or Sancho’s, or even Bruno Fernandes’, who provided the late assist. But it deserves celebrating all the same.

Without his outstanding and impeccably timed save, United’s night could have turned out very differently.

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