Manchester United 0-1 Juventus: Paulo Dybala’s first half strike wins it for Serie A champions as Cristiano Ronaldo shines on Old Trafford homecoming
- Juventus make it three wins from three in Champions League Group H with hard-fought win on Tuesday night
- Paulo Dybala fired home from close range after Manchester United failed to clear a Cristiano Ronaldo cross
- Paul Pogba struck the foot of the post 20 yards out before it rebounded out off of Wojciech Szczesny
- Jose Mourinho’s side struggled to create clear-cut chances as they slipped to defeat at Old Trafford
He plays on the left, he plays on the right, that boy Ronaldo made – well, you know the rest. At Manchester United, they certainly do.
And now they know what it feels like to be on the end of one of those performances by Cristiano Ronaldo, too. Left, right, through the middle, each positional switch causing its own problems, each change showing up the limitations of the local heroes.
This wasn’t Lionel Messi against Tottenham at Wembley earlier in the month. This wasn’t one for the ages. But Ronaldo still made Juventus’ winning goal, had a free-kick and a powerful second-half shot saved, and was a complete nuisance from the moment the match started.
Paulo Dybala fires Juventus into the lead from close range after Manchester United failed to clear a Cristiano Ronaldo cross
Dybala celebrates in typical fashion in front of the home supporters after his 17th minute goal at Old Trafford
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with Dybala on his return to Manchester United as a Juventus player on Tuesday night
Ronaldo sinks to his knees in celebration after Juventus’ narrow victory was confirmed by the final whistle
Ecstatic Juventus players jump for joy after the final whistle confirmed their victory over Manchester United
Jose Mourinho shows his frustration from the touchline as Manchester United limped to defeat at home against Juventus
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND MATCH ZONE
Manchester United: de Gea, Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Rashford, Mata, Martial, Lukaku
Subs not used: Romero, Bailly, Andreas Pereira, Fred, Ander Herrera, Darmian, Chong
Juventus: Szczesny, Joao Cancelo (Douglas Costa 87), Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi, Cuadrado (Barzagli 81), Dybala (Bernardeschi 78), Ronaldo
Subs not used: Perin, De Sciglio, Benatia, Kean
Goalscorers: Dybala 17
Booked: Matuidi, Chiellini
Referee: Milorad Mazic
Paulo Dybala fires home from close range for Juventus. CLICK HERE for more from MATCH ZONE
Manchester United, as is their style in recent weeks, were a different team after half-time once chasing the game, and could even have snatched a point had a 74th minute shot from Paul Pogba not struck the near post. Yet this was Juventus’ night.
They controlled the opening 45 minutes with 71 per cent possession, and defended impressively once United came back at them. And while it was far from the result they would have wanted, it wasn’t the worst night for Manchester United with Valencia and Young Boys drawing in Switzerland.
That left Jose Mourinho’s team in second place with a two point advantage over the Spaniards. The trip to Turin is to come for United, however, and no matter the second-half resurgence, Juventus look much the better team of the two. While Wojciech Szczesny was barely troubled in Juve’s goal, it needed another fine display from David De Gea to prevent United being exposed further.
His best save came from, who else, Ronaldo after 51 minutes, picking up on a clever pass inside from Juan Cuadrado and striking a shot that would have conjured a second for Juventus with a lesser figure between the posts. Still, the result left him all smiles as did the warm reception on what is only his third return to Old Trafford since leaving in 2009 – one with Real Madrid, one with Portugal and now this.
It is 5,547 days since he made his debut here as a substitute against Bolton, and what a player United nurtured. He played on the left, he played on the right – and United are far from the first opponents he has left looking, well, slightly inferior.
Luke Shaw takes a tumble under pressure from Juventus’ Joao Cancelo during the early stages of the game
Juventus stalwart Giorgio Chiellini rises highest in an attempt to outmuscle Romelu Lukaku and win the ball
An intruder was brought to his knees by stewards after racing onto the Old Trafford pitch during the first few minutes
Paul Pogba has a free header but can only direct his effort straight into the palms of Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny
Crristiano Ronaldo runs forward with the ball on his first appearance against his former club since March 2013
Marcus Rashford tries to take Manchester United forward but is blocked off by Juventus defender Alex Sandro
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba shields the ball from Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic in the first 45 minutes
Back in the days when Sir Alex Ferguson was trying to make Manchester United a force in the Champions League, the club had a run of ties against what was then a very athletically powerful, savvy and skilful Juventus side.
They caught up in time but, at first, there were a number of sobering experiences. The first-half here was a reminder of those encounters. Not just because Juventus took the lead, but because they were so dominant. This should be a meeting of elite clubs – Manchester United have the riches that Juventus envy. Yet in football terms, they are no longer equals, the Italians superior again.
It isn’t just the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo that has made them so, either. Their defence is tighter, their forwards more mobile. Juventus’ movement made United look pedestrian, laboured. It was clearly the plan to absorb pressure and strike on the counter attack but they had minimal success.
When they did get deep into Juve’s half, Massimiliano Allegri’s well organised back line made important interventions and unleashed counters of their own. And theirs were better.
It certainly helps to have Ronaldo as an outlet. He started on the left, played through the middle, then switched to the right. Wherever he went, trouble followed. Ashley Young will have been relieved to see the back of them, but then he tucked in behind Nemanja Vidic, forcing United to make decisions on how to deal with him in that space. When he appeared on the right, a goal soon followed.
It came after 18 minutes, by which time Juventus had already come close. The outstanding Joao Cancelo, an overlapping full-back of the modern kind, whipped in a lovely cross that was met by Paulo Dybala in the middle, steering his header wide.
Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku looks to brush off Blaise Matuidi as the referee puts the whistle to his lips
David de Gea makes a save from Blaise Matuidi’s follow up to Cristiano Ronaldo’s free kick shortly before half time
Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur catches Paul Pogba with a crunching challenge during the opening 45 minutes
Pogba shows the strain after a frustrating first half for United where they struggled to create clear-cut chances
Manchester United captain for the night Ashley Young looks to get his side forward as Alex Sandro defends
Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo tries to get an attempt in on goal as Anthony Martial tries to block his path forward
Juventus defender Alex Sandro stretches to get a toe on the ball as Marcus Rashford tries to get past his opponent
He wouldn’t be as wasteful a second time. So when, five minutes later, Ronaldo exploited the space between Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof, the Argentine striker was the beneficiary. The cross was aimed near post where former Chelsea man Juan Cuadrado was kept out well by Chris Smalling, but the ball went loose and Dybala was quicker to react than the sluggish Lindelof.
It was a straightforward chance and he made it look so – a smart finish that left the recovering de Gea no chance. It was no more than Juventus deserved, and Dybala, too. It took his total in the Champions League this season to four in three matches – the most explosive start since Alessandro De Piero in 1997-98.
They could have had more, too. In the 22nd minute, a Cancelo shot forced an excellent save from de Gea, while when Ronaldo returned to the left flank it wasn’t long before he had been bundled over by Young.
The free-kick was from a difficult angle, but there was no doubt who was going to take it. Ronaldo scored 62 goals at Old Trafford in the red of Manchester United and, while he had promised not to celebrate if he made it 63 in the shirt of another, there is little doubt he wanted more.
Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic attempts to clear the ball upfield as Paulo Dybala puts pressure on
Cristiano Ronaldo has his head in his hands after his powerful effort is palmed behind by David de Gea in the second half
Juventus defender Alex Sandro stretches to get to the ball ahead of Nemanja Matic as Victor Lindelof lies holding his head
Paul Pogba strikes the foot of the post in the closest chance Manchester United had to drawing level against Juventus
Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini appeals to the referee after he is handed a yellow card late in the second half
Manchester United forward Anthony Martial is stopped in his tracks by Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic
He nearly got more, too – the wall splitting nicely for him and de Gea parrying the shot. Out it came, to Blaise Matuidi, but de Gea was equal to that, too. Finally, the ball was recycled only for Ronaldo to direct a looping header wide.
United’s first-half. As lethargic as their travel arrangements, sadly. Having been late for their last Champions League match, against Valencia, they stayed at a hotel 250 yards from the stadium – and managed to be late again.
Road closures enforcing a coach detour was blamed but, even so, there were suggestions the bus had to be abandoned with Jose Mourinho leading his players the final distance to Old Trafford. Their play was hardly more impressive, early on – a tame Paul Pogba header from a Young free-kick their only half-chance.
Romelu Lukaka barely got a kick and, when he did, hit one crossfield past monstrously off target to begin a Juventus counter-attack. He talked up a possible move to Juventus while on international duty recently. He wishes.
Jose Mourinho beseeches his players from the touchline as Manchester United struggle to find a way back into the game
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