23 October 2018
Juventus have virtually booked their place in the Champions League knockout stages after a highly convincing display saw them claim victory at Old Trafford for the first time in 22 years.
Back in 1996 it was an Alessandro Del Piero penalty that settled the encounter; this time it was another No.10 who did the damage as Paulo Dybala finished from close range. But if truth be told, the Old Lady deserved to win by far more than a slender 1-0 margin.
LA JOYA STRIKES AGAIN
Juve began the game brimming with confidence. Not many teams can come to Old Trafford and dictate proceedings but that's exactly what the Bianconeri did, right from the outset. The 75,000-strong sea of red intimidates most opposition sides, but not Juve.
Massimiliano Allegri set the team up in an aggressive 4-3-3 formation with Juan Cuadrado, Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo in attack. The front three frequently swapped positions, causing no end of problems for the Red Devils' rear guard.
Having dominated the opening exchanges, Juve got their reward in the 17th minute when Ronaldo drifted out wide, got down to the byline and pinged in a cross. Cuadrado went for it at the near post but was blocked before Dybala pounced on the loose ball and slotted past David De Gea for his fourth European goal of the campaign.
The Bianconeri were in no mood for easing off after taking the lead. They pushed on, moving the ball around as if playing against a lower-league team rather than the mighty Manchester United.
Cancelo almost doubled Juve's advantage with an angled effort that De Gea managed to deal with, then Rodrigo Bentancur headed over from Miralem Pjanic's corner.
Ronaldo struck a free kick from out on the left so fiercely De Gea could only beat it into the path of Blaise Matuidi. The France midfielder lashed at it first time, forcing a second save out of the Spanish stopper.
Before the half was out there was still time for Dybala to flash a shot just wide.
Allegri's men took a 1-0 lead in at the break but it was far less than their dominance deserved.
UNITED HIT THE POST
Juve opened the second period with a stunning move involving Pjanic, Cuadrado and Ronaldo. It ended with CR7 smashing a vicious effort that seemed destined for the top corner until De Gea's outstretched hand touched it over.
The tempo slowed as the half wore on and the odd mistake began to creep into the Bianconeri's play, allowing United to gradually get a foothold in the game.
Wojciech Szczesny started to see more of the action but was never really threatened until the 75th minute when Paul Pogba won the ball on the edge of the box and looked to place his finish in the bottom corner; thankfully for Juve, it came back off the foot of the post.
Allegri rejigged the team by replacing Dybala with Federico Bernardeschi and Cuadrado with Andrea Barzagli – switching to a three-man backline – before Douglas Costa came on for Cancelo.
With their new set-up Juve were able to repel everything Man United threw at them with relative ease, occasionally threatening to kill the game off on the break.
A thoroughly deserved success means Juve maintain their 100% record in Group H. And with nine points after three games, they already have one foot in the last 16.
MANCHESTER UNITED 0-1 JUVENTUS (HT 0-1)
SCORER: Dybala 17.
De Gea; Young, Smalling, Lindelof, Shaw; Matic, Pogba; Rashford, Mata, Martial; Lukaku. Subs not used: Romero, Bailly, Darmian, Fred, Andreas, Ander Herrera, Chong. Coach: Mourinho JUVENTUS Szczesny; Cancelo (Douglas Costa 87), Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Bentancur, Pjanic, Matuidi; Cuadrado (Barzagli 81), Ronaldo, Dybala (Bernardeschi 78). Subs not used: Perin, De Sciglio, Benatia, Kean. Coach: Allegri. REFEREE: Mazic (SRB). ASSISTANTS: Ristic (SRB), Djurdjevic (SRB). FOURTH OFFICIAL: Petrovic (SRB). ADDITIONAL ASSISTANTS: Djokic (SRB), Grujic (SRB). BOOKED: Matuidi 59, Young 78, Chiellini 83.