Juventus 1-2 Manchester United
Manchester United executed the smash and grab of the century in Turin tonight, scoring two goals in the last five minutes to win a game totally dominated by Juventus.
In Champions League terms, Juventus are one of the big guns, but this shock defeat has cast serious doubt on their credentials. We saw a Manchester United team defending for their lives, but the Bianconeri couldn’t add to a Cristiano Ronaldo opener and paid a heavy price.
Juan Mata equalised with a sublime free kick before Alex Sandro put through his own net to put a rare smile on Jose Mourinho’s face.
Champions League 2018 results in Group H had already put the Old Lady firmly in charge, five points clear of United, and Valencia’s 3-1 win over Young Boys had dropped the Red Devils to third place. However, a crazy end to this game has blown the group wide open again.
Highlights of the game
This was a clash us Champions League fans have been looking forward to, and it certainly delivered!
The big team news for United was the absence of Romelu Lukaku who was ruled out with a muscle injury, which could also see him sidelined for the Manchester derby at the weekend. It allowed Alexis Sanchez to make his 50th Champions League appearance and Jesse Lingard to get his first start in eight games.
But we didn’t see much of the Reds’ attackers as their defence came under constant pressure. Rodrigo Bentancur had the first shot in anger, but his shot deflected off Chris Smalling and narrowly wide.
The visitors kept Juve reasonably quiet for the first half hour before the hosts came close twice in quick succession. First, a Juan Cuadrado cross was deflected by Nemanja Matic and David de Gea had to get down to make a smart save. After that, Sami Khedira should have scored when Ronaldo found him in space, but he scuffed his shot against the outside of the post.
Mourinho is a great admirer of Juventus’ defensive capabilities, particularly those of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. Nonetheless, he could be proud of the shift his own backline put in during the first 45 minutes. And the first effort of the second half gave the Red Devils some hope as the in-form Anthony Martial curled a shot just wide.
But the United woodwork was rattling again when Paulo Dybala turned sharply to fire towards goal, but the ball bounced off the crossbar to the delight of. And then came the first big moment of the match—and it was that man Ronaldo with a stunning strike.
Bonucci lobbed a ball forward and as Ronaldo evaded the defence, the Portuguese let the ball drop and hit a beauty past De Gea at the near post. What a finish!
Cuadrado should have made it two when Ronaldo put him in, but he fired well over from the centre of the box.
Though United hadn’t threatened much throughout the game, they were still in it. And on 86 minutes, they somehow clawed their way back into the match.
With a free-kick on the edge of the box, the Red Devils had a rare chance. Up stepped Mata to hit a beauty which flew into the corner.
Dybala almost restored Juve’s lead, but he dragged his shot wide. The Allianz Arena then fell silent when United unbelievably scored another. Ashley Young curled a free kick into the box and it bounced off Bonucci and then Sandro and into the net.
Incredible. Simply incredible!
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the Champions League match between Juventus and Manchester United
The Champions League 2018 odds pointed to a home win, so a bet on Manchester United was of incredible value!!
It’s only Juve’s second home defeat in 36 group matches and, with 23 shots to nine, they’ll be wondering how they lost it.
The head-to-heads are now at six each, and this amazing win was United’s third consecutive victory in Turin. No other European side has won more games away to Juventus.
It was Ronaldo’s first goal in six Champions League games, but that will be small consolation for Juve’s biggest star.
The Bianconeri will be temporarily stunned while the Red Devils celebrate. Nevertheless, both teams have big games back in their domestic leagues.
Juventus had a good test at the weekend in a 3-1 win over Cagliari, which was anything but an easy game. And next, there’s a huge match in Serie A as the Old Lady visit Milan to take on Gennaro Gattuso’s Rossoneri who are in superb form—up in fourth after a run of five wins in six league games.
And if you think that one’s a cracker, then the Premier League has the Manchester Derby to offer. Jose takes his Red Devils to the Etihad to take on the league leaders and big favourites to retain their crown.
There’s pride at stake in bucket loads, and I wouldn’t want to be on the losing side. However, with the Sky Blues coasting to a 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk tonight, my money has to be on a City win.
Tonight was Manchester United’s night, but I suspect the Sky Blues will be somewhat fresher.
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