Plummeting by 1-0 at home against Juventus, Man-U clear-cut fell to a narrow loss in Group H of the Champions League. Exposing Red Devils main problems, Paulo Dybala made the game winning goal in the first half.
Many moons ago, a promising Man-U team gauged their progress in Europe against the panache of Juventus. It may well be again today as it was in the 90s. In regards of winning the Champions League Juventus are an absolute favorite, however, Manchester United with their current form will give a fighting fit to qualify for the next year’s match. Keeping faith in the attacking lineup that performed outstandingly well at the weekend match against Chelsea, José Mourinho displayed zero signs of inferiority complex.
Yet in their recent reassuring performances, The Red Devils’ defending game was weak and failed to perk up along with their attacking game. This fragile backline was however exposed after reasonably even initial 16 minutes. In front of the defending Anthony Martial, Ronaldo was able to get a low across into the box. Surprisingly, no one noticed Paulo Dybala coming from midfield as nearing Juan Cuadrado threw Chris Smalling out of the equation. The Argentinian playmaker slipped the ricocheted cross into the net as no Red Devil was near him.
Emboldening by the goal, Juventus started taking control of the game. Logged after the opener, David de Gea made a save at full stretch thus denying Ronaldo. As the bianconeri were ruling the possession, the shell-shocked Manchester United intimidated for the first time after 30 minutes. Juventus defense was being goaded by Marcus Rashford and Martial in particular.
The visitors were still dangerous, even in this period though. Although the United were in the dominance, another set of sharp saves at the other end from De Gea managed to keep out a Blaise Matuidi volley and a Ronaldo free-kick. Despite the fact that United completed the first half like a boss, they were in no doubt about Juventus’ threat.
The home side started the second half just the way they finished the first. In the space of few minutes, Martial penetrated his way twice into the box from his wide left position but was overthrown both the times by Juventus defenders. Just like in the first half, Juventus were not browbeaten. Ronaldo’s blazing effort were locked out by an excellent De Gea.
With much of the increased pressure coming through the authority of Juan Mata, United continued to put its best foot forward. Initially Mata spent majority of the first half tailing Miralem Pjanić, however, things changed after the break as the little Spaniard was back to his original job of instigating the attacks and probing the ball.
Juventus’ old boy Paul Pogba as usual, grew his dominance in the second half of the game. The closest that United got in this game was a slanted shot that cannoned first off and then went off the head of Wojciech Szczęsny, coming from the Frenchman from outside of the box. No doubt that the Reds were dominating control, but they evidently lacked the horse sense to break in the visitors’ tail end.
Despite their improvement, United remained falling short at their final hurdle. In vile form of late, Romelu Lukaku was imaginably the worst offender. Inexplicably, José Mourinho somehow forgot how to make use of his stand-in’s bench. At the end of the day, United fought hard, but the contrast in quality gave away everything.