As the ball bounced into his path, the Spaniard took matters into his own hands, cutting in onto his left foot before unleashing a deadly strike that nestled inside the far post to send the visiting support at the Etihad Stadium into raptures.
Alvaro Morata’s 81st minute goal against Manchester City, his first of the season, had everything: pace, power, technique and the drama of sealing a maiden victory for the Bianconeri in 2015/16.
Speaking in an exclusive interview to Sky and Mediaset, he began: “The most important thing is that we got the win we dearly needed and that gives us something to build upon. Our season begins now.”
Playing in a 4-3-3 formation for the first time this year, Morata matched his attacking intent with a willingness to run up and down the channels, getting stuck into defensive duties when called upon.
And the 22-year-old reserved words of praise for manager Massimiliano Allegri, especially for the way he motivates the side, helping them to go the extra mile.
“I’m here to help the team. The thing that matters most is that we have many great players, we train hard during the week, making it hard for the coach to choose the formation. He is the first one fighting for the cause, sometimes it seems like he’s on the pitch with us. The only difference is that he’s in a suit! He puts his heart and soul into every match and you can see that on TV.”
On Gigi Buffon’s top-class saves on Tuesday, Morata described the performances of Juve’s and Italy’s number one as worthy of winning the Ballon d’Or, adding that Paul Pogba was capable of lifting the accolade in the future.
“Gigi deserves it. It’s a pity that goalkeepers only seem able to win the Golden Glove award. It’s an honour for me to play with and even against him, given that I’ll face him on international duty. Paul is capable of winning it as well. We’re all aware of his qualities and so if he wants it he can do it.”