Mata, Pogba shock Juventus with late turnaround
Juventus dominated the game for almost its entirety, but they sank deep in the closing minutes to protect a lead and that ultimately proved their undoing, as Jose Mourinho’s side pulled off the ultimate smash-and-grab.
Ronaldo started against his old club for only the fourth time in his career, alongside Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado up front. Mourinho opted to bring in Jesse Lingard to join Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial in his attacking unit.
However, the English side were not able to get the ball to their forward players much, as Juventus controlled the ball and dictated play for long periods. The ‘Red Devils’ were limited to counter-attacking football against the famously stingy Juve defence.
But Juventus could not find the back of the net. Sami Khedira hit the post. Half-time passed and with the teams back out on the field, Dybala hit the bar. It was always going to take something special to break the deadlock.
Up stepped Ronaldo. The Portuguese star smashed Leonardo Bonucci's long ball past David de Gea with a sumptuous first-time volley. It's a goal that will be remembered for a long time. He was off celebrating this one, his first Champions League goal of the season.
From then on it looked only a formality, but Juventus shot themselves in the foot. Andrea Barzagli was brought on to shore up the back-line, and the ‘Bianconeri’ shrunk back into their shells as the long balls came forward.
A foul on the edge of the box gave Juan Mata the opportunity to level things. From 20 yards he curled in a sublime free kick - another to add to his collection - and suddenly Juventus were rattled.
Much of the talk before the game centred on Ronaldo up against his former club, but there was another making a return tonight. Paul Pogba won four Serie A title’s with Juventus, and he has fond memories of his time in Turin.
It was the Frenchman who supplied the moment many in the city want to forget. A free kick from the left was swung in and Pogba got on the end of an almighty scramble to nod the ball home. He didn’t celebrate.
All that was left was for Jose Mourinho to antagonise the home faithful, and Man United leave with three points and renewed hope in the group. The pressure is now off against Valencia at the Mestalla, and top of the group is still a possibility.