Cristiano Ronaldo reached the remarkable landmark of 50 hat-tricks at club level as he propelled Manchester United to victory over Norwich City.

Ronaldo, who has managed 60 trebles when his goals for Portugal are added to the count, remains an arch predator at the age of 37, and his display at Old Trafford rescued an off-key United team in Saturday's encounter with the Premier League's bottom side.

After reaching 49 club trebles by hitting three against Tottenham last month, Ronaldo brought up a half-century with a close-range strike, a header from a corner and a 25-yard free-kick.

It was his third United treble (one in 2008, two in 2022). He hit three hat-tricks with Juventus and an incredible 44 during a stellar nine-year spell at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo moved to 21 goals for the season in all competitions, going through the 20 barrier for a 16th consecutive campaign, and he now has 99 Premier League goals in his career.

His goals can be broken down further, with all three of his hat-tricks for United coming in the Premier League, while with Juventus he hit two trebles in Serie A and one in the Champions League.

During his time at Madrid, spanning 2009 to 2018, Ronaldo hit 34 hat-tricks in LaLiga, seven in the Champions League, two in the Copa del Rey and one in the FIFA Club World Cup.

He managed five goals in a LaLiga game twice for Madrid, against Granada in April 2015 and against Espanyol in September of the same year, and also plundered five four-goals hauls in the same competition.

Ronaldo also hit four for Madrid in a Champions League game against Malmo in December 2015.

An unlikely quadruple remains very much on for Liverpool after a 3-2 victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

The national stadium was bathed in sunshine, resplendent, eagerly anticipating round two of arguably the biggest heavyweight clash in world football right now.

Fair enough, technically round three if you include the Anfield game earlier this season, but it felt like a second leg after last week's exhilarating 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium that left City one point ahead of the Reds in the race for the Premier League title.

A relatively innocent declaration from former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher recently that this is now the biggest rivalry in English football caused uproar from those who remember the days of Manchester United and Arsenal going at it, publicly hating one another, fiery encounters, pizza lobbing. That rivalry admittedly had it all.

This is a rivalry of quality, though. It would be a stretch to say City and Liverpool like each other, but there is a clear mutual respect, which some claim stops it being a proper rivalry.

It is an odd thing to point to when the same people were seemingly disgusted by the scenes at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday as City and Atletico Madrid players did not exactly shake hands after the final whistle.

There was some ill-feeling in Wembley ahead of kick-off, with a section of City fans choosing to make noise during a moment of silence to mark the anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, which the Manchester club later condemned in a statement.

Purely from a football perspective, this is as good as it gets, possibly in the world. It is the new Real Madrid v Barcelona, and this was the latest chapter, their first meeting at Wembley since the 2019 Community Shield, which City won on penalties.

 

Of course, no-one particularly wanted to be at Wembley, as nice as it looked. With travel from the north west of England heavily affected by a lack of train services over the Easter weekend, questions were raised as to why both sets of fans were forced to travel to London to play a game that was not even a final, but that is a conversation for another day.

On this day, it was the red of Liverpool that reigned supreme.

A strong start for Klopp's men saw Ibrahima Konate continue his recent goalscoring form, nodding in his third goal for Liverpool in the space of four games from Andy Robertson's outswinging corner.

The freshness of the Reds told in the early stages, with Klopp having rested a number of key players in the week, while City had experienced a tough away trip to Madrid, and Guardiola was forced to make several changes to his usual line-up.

His decision to swap goalkeepers soon came back to bite him as Sadio Mane closed down Zack Steffen. While Ederson had teased Diogo Jota at the Etihad in a similar way, Steffen could not match the Brazilian's calmness and saw himself tackled by Mane to concede a farcical second.

Liverpool's midfield was masterful at Wembley. Fabinho managed to keep City's band of attacking midfielders relatively quiet, even after picking up a first-half yellow card. Thiago was just as mesmeric as he had been at the Etihad, finding or creating space, making full use of the vast pitch, and it was his sumptuous dinked ball out to Mane that led to the third, with the Senegalese smashing home inside Steffen's near post.

 

Of all three Liverpool midfielders, though, you could argue it was Naby Keita who stood out most.

The Guinea international has struggled for fitness and consistency pretty much ever since he arrived in a big-money move from RB Leipzig in 2018, but picked ahead of captain Jordan Henderson for this huge game, he did not let his manager down.

Keita won possession seven times, more than any other player on the pitch in the 73 minutes he featured, and with the ball during that time, nearly matched Thiago (26) for passes in the opposition half (24).

Last week's league encounter had seen City dominate the first half before Liverpool came back in the second, and it seemed the reverse was happening here, except the Merseysiders made more of their dominance with a three-goal lead at the break.

Guardiola's men started the second half much quicker, and had pulled it back to 3-1 within minutes, with a nice Gabriel Jesus run ending with Jack Grealish firing home, just days after admitting he wanted to score more goals after his £100million move from Aston Villa last year.

This was not the same City as last week though, quite literally given the number of changes, and they rarely looked like troubling their title rivals after that, with Jesus hitting an effort when through on goal straight at fellow countryman Alisson.

The Premier League leaders struggled, with just one shot in the first half and Grealish's goal their first effort on target. Their passing accuracy was also way down from its usual high standards at just 80.5 per cent, playing more long balls and failing to deal with Liverpool's famous press.

Though he did not find the net himself, the impact of Luis Diaz was clear for all to see again. The Colombian seems to be improving alongside Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah game on game.

He won four fouls as he was a constant thorn in the side of Joao Cancelo, while Mane also carried on the fine form he showed at the Etihad.

The former Southampton man became the first Liverpool player to score twice in an FA Cup semi-final since Robbie Fowler against Aston Villa in 1996, and the first to score a brace for the Reds at Wembley since Steve McManaman in the League Cup final against Bolton Wanderers in 1995.

In typical City fashion, they refused to give up until the end, making things interesting with a second goal back in stoppage time courtesy of Bernardo Silva after fine work from substitute Riyad Mahrez.

This was Liverpool's day, though, and if City struck a blow by staying ahead of the Reds in the league last week, Klopp's men responded with one of their own here as we head towards what promises to be an increasingly fascinating rivalry.

Liverpool fans sang Dua Lipa's 'One Kiss' as they got ready for a long journey back up the motorway, safe in the knowledge that history still beckons this season.

Liverpool's quadruple hopes remain intact as they beat rivals Manchester City 3-2 to secure their spot in the FA Cup final.

The Reds and City are neck-and-neck in the Premier League and could yet contest the Champions League final, but Saturday's win at Wembley made it advantage Liverpool in their 2021-22 trophies duel.

While City were without Kyle Walker and only had Kevin De Bruyne on the bench due to injury, Liverpool restored several key players to their line-up after a midweek rest and it was evident throughout a first half that the Reds dominated.

Liverpool were 3-0 up by half-time thanks to Ibrahima Konate's early header and a Sadio Mane double, with City goalkeeper Zack Steffen at fault for the Senegal forward's first goal.

Jack Grealish pulled one back early in the second period and Bernardo Silva's late tap-in forced a tense finish, but Liverpool held on.

Jurgen Klopp's men were ahead inside nine minutes, Konate towering above everyone to head home Andrew Robertson's corner.

It was 2-0 soon after. Where Ederson escaped a goal-line blunder in their Premier League showdown last weekend, Steffen was punished by Mane as the attacker's tackle saw the ball ricochet into the net.

City seemingly found themselves all but beaten on the stroke of half-time, Mane lashing home on the volley after a sublime Thiago Alcantara pass.

Grealish picked out the top-left corner with a lovely finish of his own just after the restart, and Silva nudged in from close range in second-half stoppage time to set Liverpool nerves jangling.

But it was too little, too late for City as two fantastic defensive blocks helped Liverpool hold firm to reach a first FA Cup final in 10 years.

Tom Rothe made Bundesliga history as Borussia Dortmund cut Bayern Munich's lead at the top of the German top flight to six points in emphatic fashion.

Dortmund thrashed Wolfsburg 6-1 on Saturday, putting pressure on Bayern ahead of their meeting with Arminia Bielefeld on Sunday.

It was Rothe who put Dortmund ahead with a near-post header in the 24th minute, as Marco Rose's side scored five times in a rampant first-half display.

In doing so, Rothe - aged 17 years and 169 days - became the youngest player to score on his Bundesliga debut.

Axel Witsel, Manuel Akanji, Emre Can and Erling Haaland all found the net before half-time, with Haaland then doubling his tally in the 54th minute.

Dortmund face Bayern in Der Klassiker next Saturday, by which point Die Roten will be expected to have restored a nine-point advantage at the Bundesliga summit.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 50th club career hat-trick dug Manchester United out of a hole against lowly Norwich City as the under-par Red Devils won 3-2 at Old Trafford.

The 37-year-old's treble was his second in his past three Premier League appearances and took him to 21 goals for the season, going through the 20 barrier for a 16th consecutive campaign.

Ronaldo moved to 99 Premier League goals in his career, and United could only thank him for sparing them a potentially embarrassing afternoon.

He put United two up early on, but Norwich hit back through Kieran Dowell and Teemu Pukki, only for former Real Madrid and Juventus star Ronaldo to lash a free-kick winner through the grasp of Tim Krul in the 76th minute.

David de Gea sprinted from his line to expertly block Pukki's attempted dink over the goalkeeper in the third minute, and Norwich would soon regret failing to take that golden chance

Ronaldo saw a fizzing 20-yard shot saved by Krul in the seventh minute, but seconds later the United man did better, with Anthony Elanga dispossessing Ben Gibson in the penalty area and squaring for an easy close-range finish.

United kept pressing against opponents who at that point appeared ripe to be picked off, and Ronaldo got their second in the 32nd minute when he headed a corner from the right by Alex Telles past Krul.

Norwich surprisingly got one back in first-half stoppage time when Pukki's cross from the left was nodded in at the far post by an unmarked Dowell.

Incredibly, having been outplayed for so long, Norwich got level after 52 minutes when Pukki tucked past De Gea after Dowell played him in and the striker stayed just onside.

United lacked coherence in attack and were out of sorts throughout, with De Gea having to save well from Milot Rashica to keep the hosts on level terms, but then up stepped Ronaldo from 25 yards to save the day.

Arsenal's chances of securing Champions League football for next season suffered another blow as Jan Bednarek condemned them to a 1-0 loss at Southampton.

Bednarek put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time, with Fraser Forster making two excellent saves as Southampton inflicted Arsenal to a third straight Premier League defeat.

Having watched Tottenham suffer a last-minute reverse to Brighton and Hove Albion earlier on Saturday, Arsenal would have moved level with their top-four rivals with a victory.

A flat performance from the Gunners, however, meant Spurs' slip-up went unpunished, allowing Southampton to end a five-match winless run of their own.

Despite the end result, Arsenal did make a bright start, with Cedric Soares drawing a decent save from Forster after cutting in from the right.

Southampton's goalkeeper was forced into a more difficult stop when he brilliantly diverted Bukayo Saka's effort over the bar.

The Saints recovered from their slow start to strike first, though, when Bednarek swept Mohamed Elyounoussi's cut back home from close range after 44 minutes.

Eddie Nketiah went close with a neat backheel after meeting Cedric's cross as Arsenal searched for a response, before Saka almost picked out the top-right corner after cutting in from the right on the hour.

Forster made his second stunning save in the 73rd minute, getting down to his left to turn substitute Emile Smith Rowe's fierce volley away from the corner.

He then denied Saka and Granit Xhaka in the final 10 minutes as Arsenal's season threatens to spiral downwards.

Manchester City say they are "extremely disappointed" with a section of their fans that made noise during a minute's silence ahead of their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

The silence was to mark 33 years since the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 97 Liverpool supporters.

Although it appeared to be a small number of City fans making noise, it was clearly audible throughout the stadium and led to understandably angry boos from the Liverpool fans.

A statement released by City during the game read: "Manchester City are extremely disappointed with the actions of some City supporters during the minute’s silence before today’s game.

"The club sincerely apologises to all those connected with Liverpool Football Club."

 

Cristiano Ronaldo extended his astonishing streak of scoring at least 20 club goals in a season when he netted twice before half-time for Manchester United on Saturday.

The Portuguese superstar's double before the break against Norwich City took him to 20 for 2021-22, and he has now reached or passed that mark in 16 consecutive seasons.

His sensational run began during a first spell at United, with Ronaldo first breaking the 20-goal barrier when he scored 23 for the Red Devils in the 2006-07 campaign.

He hit 42 in 2007-08, and during a subsequent nine-year stint at Real Madrid, where he became the club's record scorer, Ronaldo exceeded 50 goals in six consecutive seasons from 2010-11 to 2015-16.

Ronaldo left Madrid in 2018 and remained a clinical finisher for Juventus in Italy, scoring 101 goals across three seasons with the Turin giants before being tempted back to United last August.

While 37-year-old Ronaldo stretches his remarkable record, it seems likely his former LaLiga rival Lionel Messi will see his sequence of 20-goal seasons come to an end.

Argentine great Messi managed 20-plus goals in 13 consecutive seasons for Barcelona, but he has struggled to score with the same regularity during his first year with Paris Saint-Germain. Messi has netted only eight times so far this season for PSG, who have just seven Ligue 1 games remaining.

Kylian Mbappe is "far above" any Marseille player, meaning Paris Saint-Germain's Classique rivals must work together to stop the "almost unstoppable" forward, Jorge Sampaoli says.

France superstar Mbappe is enjoying another outstanding season in Ligue 1, leading the way in terms of both goals (20) and assists (14).

Marseille managed to keep the 23-year-old in check in a goalless draw at the Stade Velodrome back in October, but still only Zlatan Ibrahimovic has more Classique goals (seven) than Mbappe (six) in Ligue 1.

And Marseille coach Sampaoli's previous experience of Mbappe was painful, too. He scored twice to knock Sampaoli's Argentina out of the 2018 World Cup, inspiring France's 4-3 last-16 win in Russia.

The Marseille boss knows exactly what to expect at the Parc des Princes on Sunday then.

"I had the opportunity to face him at the World Cup and here when Paris came," Sampaoli said ahead of the match.

"And each time, he makes the difference: in space, with the ball, in his finish. With the players he has around him, he is almost unstoppable.

"We must be a great collective team, because individually he is far above."

Tottenham coach Antonio Conte was left baffled by his team's performance in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion, as he struggled to surmise what went wrong.

Spurs came into the weekend on a run of four successive Premier League wins, a run that had seen them score 14 times and concede just twice.

Their display on Saturday was a significant contrast, as Spurs failed to get a single shot on target for the first time in 21 league games, and it dealt them a major blow in the top-four race.

They remain three points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, with the Gunners in action against Southampton later on Saturday.

Tottenham's underwhelming expected goals (xG) haul of 0.5 reflected their lack of invention and threat in attack, while Conte focused on Spurs' ponderous nature in possession.

He told BT Sport: "We started very slowly and in this type of game you have to move the ball more quickly. Maybe the weather? I want to find an excuse, but it was not a good game for us."

Leandro Trossard got the decisive goal late on with a tidy finish, and Spurs' inability to at least hold on to a point was another source of irritation for Conte.

Speaking in his post-match news conference, Conte added: "For sure not a good result for us. A lesson that we can learn is that there are games that if you are not able to win you have to not lose.

"It was very clear that it wasn't our day. It was important to get three points before our rivals in the race for the Champions League but the game was very difficult.

"It was a tactical game for both sides and Brighton were very good at closing the space. I think that we are able to do much better than his.

"Perhaps a draw was more fair but Brighton played a good game. If you win against Arsenal and Tottenham away, you know it's a good game."

Yet Conte was also philosophical about the situation, adamant Spurs must get used to the expectation that surrounds tussles like the one they are in for Champions League qualification.

"Once you reach a good position in the table, then you have to try to keep this position. It's a good experience for us to try to cope with pressure."

Manchester United supporters staged a fresh protest against the club's owners on Saturday ahead of the 17-year anniversary of the takeover by the Glazer family.

Many supporters marched to Old Trafford ahead of the Premier League game against Norwich City, some carrying banners as others held lit smoke flares.

With a large police presence, there were no reports of major trouble, although the protesting continued as supporters arrived at the stadium.

A large number heeded calls to boycott the opening 17 minutes of the match, instead staying on the stadium concourses and leaving seats empty.

An early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, to give United the lead, was followed within minutes by supporters chanting "stand up if you hate Glazers" and "we want Glazers out".

United supporters have been unhappy with the Glazer business model at United since the early days of their ownership. While the club have been commercially successful, results on the pitch in recent seasons have been poor by the club's previous high standards.

The Glazer family, then headed by Malcolm Glazer, established a controlling stake in the Red Devils in May 2005.

The protest came on the day neighbours Manchester City and fierce rivals Liverpool – firmly established as the current top two teams in England – were contesting an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

United lost early in that competition, and in the EFL Cup, while they were beaten by Atletico Madrid at the Champions League last-16 stage and came into the Norwich game sitting seventh in the Premier League.

Their last Premier League title came in 2012-13, with United having not won a major trophy since landing the EFL Cup and Europa League titles in the 2016-17 campaign.

Interim Ralf Rangnick has guided United through the second half of this season after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the latest manager to struggle to deliver success.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag is widely seen as the favourite to become the next permanent boss.

KL Rahul knocked a freewheeling century to steer Lucknow Super Giants to an 18-run victory as they inflicted a sixth defeat of the season upon Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

The Super Giants captain muscled 103 not out off 60 balls to guide his side to an unassailable 199-4 on Saturday.

Suryakumar Yadav mustered a side-best 37 for the Indians in response, but their spirited attempts to deliver a first win of the campaign fell short.

Rahul had showcased some typical virtuosity over the past few weeks with the Super Giants, including a patient 68 in victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

But his effort here was of the more explosively entertaining kind, with the tone set by a fifth-over frenzy off Tyrone Mills and capped with an exquisite six.

Able support from Quinton de Kock (24) and Manish Pandey (38) helped drive the Indians, despite Jaydev Unadkat's 2-32 bowling figures.

Any hopes of a response from the Indians looked in jeopardy when they were reduced to 57-3, before Yadav and Tilak Varma mounted a sturdy 64-run fourth-wicket partnership.

Kieron Pollard and Unadkat combined to leave the hosts needing an ambitious 26 off the last over, but three wickets in those final six balls ended any hopes.

Rahul delivers captain's knock

Taking to the crease for the first ball alongside wicketkeeper De Kock, the India star turned in a contender for the performance of the tournament to date with his assured strokes.

With nine fours and five sixes, the opening batsman led from the front, with an impressive strike rate of 171.66, while Avesh Khan led the way with the ball, taking 3-30.

Luckless Indians continue barren run

It has been six games and six losses across the start of the 2022 campaign now for Mumbai, and their hopes of making the playoffs truly look to be in tatters.

On the back of Wednesday's loss to Punjab Kings, it is the second game in a row where their margin of defeat has clocked in under the 20-run mark, but it is still a painful streak they are yet to buck.

Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne lost their race to be fit to start for Manchester City in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

The duo were doubts after suffering knocks in the Champions League clash with Atletico Madrid in midweek.

While De Bruyne was named among the City substitutes for the meeting between the Premier League titles at Wembley – the second encounter between the sides in the space of six days – Walker missed out altogether.

Ruben Dias was also included on the City bench after being out since late February due to injury, with a pairing of John Stones and Nathan Ake tasked with stopping Liverpool's forward line of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Luis Diaz.

Zack Steffen replaced Ederson in goal, while there were also starts for Jack Grealish, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling.

Fernandinho took the captain's armband after replacing Rodri in midfield, just days after revealing he intends to leave City at the end of the season.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was left out of Jurgen Klopp's starting XI, with a midfield of Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Naby Keita.

Salah and Mane returned after being named on the bench in the Champions League against Benfica in midweek, while Ibrahima Konate was again preferred to Joel Matip in defence alongside Virgil van Dijk.

Carlo Ancelotti does not care if Real Madrid's critics pin their achievements on the prodigious scoring feats of Karim Benzema.

Goals win titles, and Madrid are well on their way to landing another LaLiga crown, while they are through to the semi-finals in the Champions League too.

Benzema has 38 goals from as many games this season, plus 13 assists, with those strikes coming at one every 85 minutes.

Madrid's next highest scorer is Vinicius Junior who has managed 17 goals in 43 appearances, with Marco Asensio next on the list after scoring 10 times.

This has been a career-best season for Benzema to date in terms of those goal numbers, with the 34-year-old Frenchman thriving on the responsibility of taking over the captaincy from Sergio Ramos.

Ancelotti sees Benzema's outstanding input as a major factor, but far from the only reason Madrid could end the season basking in trophy glory.

"We have a very important objective, and we are focused on this," Ancelotti told reporters ahead of Sunday's clash with Sevilla.

"I don't care if they say we played well or badly, I care that the team can compete until the end and fight to win titles.

"We are focused on that, which is reality. They can say that we are the top scorers because we have Benzema, and it's true, but that's only one of the truths.

"The reality is that we want to win, and we are fighting to win titles. The rest doesn't matter."

Ancelotti said Madrid have managed to recharge after the gruelling second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea, when a 3-2 defeat after extra-time saw Los Blancos sneak through 5-4 on aggregate.

They tackle third-placed Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, with Benzema having often struggled to make a telling impact in this particular fixture.

He has scored eight goals in 21 LaLiga games against Sevilla but only one in 10 such fixtures away from home. Only at Camp Nou, where he has played 13 matches and managed just one goal, has Benzema played more away games with so few goals scored in the competition.

Ancelotti will hope he improves that record as Madrid, holding a 12-point lead at the summit, attempt to close in on the title.

"We need to win and add points, because LaLiga is not yet won," Ancelotti said.

"Everyone is waiting for Real Madrid to suffer a puncture, and hopefully that doesn't come, because LaLiga is not over. Every game can be a trap."

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