Manchester United earned an unlikely late, comeback win against Juventus on Wednesday afternoon, coming away 2-1 victors in Turin.
Despite Jose Mourinho’s side being defensively solid throughout the majority of the game, one moment of magic from former Red Devil Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring as he netted a stunning volley in the 65th minute of the game. However, after being introduced with a little over ten minutes remaining, Mata stepped up to blast home a free kick from just outside of the penalty area to equalise.
United secured victory with two minutes remaining as a teasing Ashley Young free-kick caused havoc in the Juventus penalty area. The ball eventually took a touch off of the head of Alex Sandro and went into the back of the net to secure a fantastic win for Mourinho’s troops.
Juventus kept at arms length
The first two opportunities of the game took some time to arrive. However, much like waiting for buses, they both came at once. Firstly, Alexis Sanchez blasted an inviting free-kick into the Juventus wall before Sami Khedira tested David De Gea with a fierce drive on the counter-attack.
Former Chelsea man Juan Cuadrado then tried his luck from the corner of the penalty area. His shot appeared to take a deflection off of a United boot but the United keeper reacted well to keep the ball out.
All square in Turin
In all throughout the first half, Jose Mourinho’s men kept the Italian champions at bay. However, sloppy defending almost saw them go behind as neat play between Ronaldo and Mattia De Sciglio saw the former get free on the right. The Portuguese fizzed the ball into the unmarked Khedira but the German could not capitalise as his low effort bounced away off the base of the post from only a few yards out.
Despite dominating most of the possession throughout the first period, Allegri’s troops could not find an opener and the teams went into the break level.
Ronaldo blasts past De Gea
The second-half resumed at a high tempo and the in-form Anthony Martial almost opened the scoring with a low effort that bent just wide. Paulo Dybala then went even closer as he found space in the box and crashed a spectacular effort off of the crossbar, leaving De Gea stranded. Fortunately for the Spanish stopper, the ball bounced behind to safety.
The United goalkeeper had no chance however as Ronaldo then opened the scoring with a stunning effort. Running beyond the Red Devils’ defence, the Portuguese superstar latched onto an excellent long pass from Leonardo Bonucci and thundered in a spectacular close range volley.
He then teed up Miralem Pjanic but he was thwarted by an instinctive low save from De Gea.
Old Lady spurn opportunities to secure victory
The Bosnian midfielder then had another great opportunity as he was fed by Cuadrado but he could only pass the ball wide of the United goal when unmarked in the area.
The hosts continued to create opportunities and again could have wrapped the three points up through Cuadrado. Ronaldo looked to have put the ball on a plate for the Colombian but he somehow blazed it over the bar.
Red Devils take advantage
Juventus were to rue those missed chances towards the end of the game. After ex-Juventus man, Paul Pogba, had been shoved over just outside of the area, substitute Mata stepped up to the resultant free-kick. Showing excellent composure, the Spaniard guided the ball into the top corner with an excellent strike to equalise.
It then got even better only minutes later as the Red Devils edged ahead. Another set piece, this time from Young, was tossed into the Juventus penalty area. The hosts struggled to clear the ball and it eventually took two deflections before finding the net via the head of Alex Sandro.
Marcus Rashford could have sealed the three points late on as he was released by Martial but he could not beat Szczęsny. It did not matter though as United closed out the final few minutes to secure a wonderful victory.
It all looked so ominous after Cristiano Ronaldo found the net with his stunning goal. United defended well throughout the game but struggled to really get going in an attacking sense. However, that all changed with less than ten minutes to go as a goal from Mata and Bonucci putting through his own net secured the win.
Mourinho’s troops were by no means at their flowing best in Turin but it is the result that matters, and United certainly delivered with that.
Juventus: Szczesny (6); Sandro (5), Chiellini (6), Bonucci (7), De Sciglio (7) (Barzagli (N/A), 83′); Khedira (6) (Matuidi (6), 61′), Pjanic (7), Bentancur (7); Dybala (7), Cuadrado (6) (Mandzukic (N/A), 90+2′), Ronaldo (8).
Manchester United: De Gea (6); Shaw (6), Lindelöf (6), Smalling (7), Young (6); Pogba (6), Matic (6), Herrera (6) (Mata (7), 79′); Martial (7), Sanchez (6) (Fellaini (N/A), 79′), Lingard (5) (Rashford (6), 70′).
Goals: Ronaldo (65′), Mata (86′), Sandro OG (89′)
Referee: Ovidiu Hategan
Yellow Cards: Matic (12′), Sandro (55′), Herrera (75′), Dybala (75′)
Red Cards: N/A
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