15 September 2015
Second-half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Alvaro Morata saw the Bianconeri complete a brilliant comeback to register a memorable 2-1 victory against Manchester City and claim maximum points in their opening Champions League group game of the season.
Playing in a 4-3-3 formation for the first time this season, Juventus provided a consistent counter-attacking threat for large spells of an opening period in which they even had the ball in the back of the net, but Paul Pogba’s header was chalked off for Morata’s offside position and active role in the move.
However, City, whose summer signing Raheem Sterling had brought a brilliant save out of Gianluigi Buffon at the start of the first half, took a 56th minute lead after Giorgio Chiellini inadvertently turned into his own net when under pressure from Vincent Kompany, as the Belgian climbed high to meet David Silva’s corner.
But a spirited response by Massimiliano Allegri’s men led to a well-taken equaliser by Mandzukic, turning in Pogba’s accurate cross, before Morata’s spectacular shot from outside the box nestled into Joe Hart’s bottom corner in front of the delirious away supporters.
The goals were the very first to be conceded by Manuel Pellegrini’s men this season and the win rewards a performance of real character to turn over the Premier League leaders away from home, paving the way for a memorable victory that gets the Bianconeri’s Champions League campaign off to the perfect start.
Cheered on by a vocal home crowd, City only took two minutes to test Buffon. Fernandinho drove forward into space, feeding Sterling on the left and the summer signing immediately forced Juve’s number one into a smart block, with Wilfried Bony lurking dangerously in the goalmouth.
Juventus soon grew into the game, providing a threat in the final third themselves, and Pogba saw his 11th minute header from Juan Cuadrado’s cross ruled out as Morata was adjudged to be offside in an active position.
Two minutes later, the hosts had another scare when Hernanes’ free-kick from 30 yards sailed just whiskers wide of Joe Hart’s post.
By the midway point of the first half, City were back on the front foot and came close with efforts from Fernandinho and Aleksander Kolarov.
But Allegri’s men always looked dangerous on the counter-attack and mustered a couple of long-range shots of their own, firstly through Morata, then Cuadrado, but both hurtled narrowly past the upright.
Fernandinho, who was having a strong game in midfield for the hosts, also just missed with a stinging drive from outside the box, as the sides entered half-time on level terms.
In the 56th minute, however, City took the lead when Kompany appeared to force Chiellini to nod into his own net from Silva’s corner.
Just two minutes later, Buffon had to be at his best to keep his side in the game with a double save on shots from Sterling and then Silva.
The Bianconeri fought back and created a chance of their own when Hart got down to block Stefano Sturaro’s close-range effort.
And Allegri’s men would soon be rewarded for their increased attacking intent when Mandzukic grabbed the equaliser in the 69th minute.
Running onto Pogba’s pinpoint ball from the left flank, the Croatian forward got the most delicate of touches to steer home in off the upright.
Eleven minutes later, Juventus’ visiting support were celebrating once more as Morata cut in from the right, slipping past his marker, to rifle in off the far post with a spectacular left-footed strike.
As City looked to salvage something from the match, Yaya Toure hit a venomous drive from the edge of the box, but once again Buffon produced heroics to tip it over the bar, as he and his team-mates held on for a famous win at the Etihad Stadium.
The Bianconeri will be delighted with the spirit shown in coming back to claim their first Champions League win on English soil since 1996 and will look to build upon their perfect Group D start when they entertain Sevilla on Wednesday 30 September.
Hart; Sagna, Kompany (Otamendi 74), Mangala, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho;
Nasri (Aguero 84) Silva, Sterling (De Bruyne 71); Bony
Unused substitutes: Caballero, Demichelis, Fernando, Navas
Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Chiellini, Evra; Sturaro, Hernanes, Pogba;
Cuadrado, Mandzukic (Dybala 78), Morata (Barzagli 84)
Unused substitutes: Neto, Alex Sandro, Lemina, Pereyra, Zaza