Manchester United scored twice in the final five minutes to seal a famous comeback victory over Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Wednesday.
It looked as though Jose Mourinho’s would be heading for a second defeat at the hands of the Italian champions in the space of two weeks after Cristiano Ronaldo had opened the scoring in stunning fashion shortly after the hour mark – a result which would have left United third in Group H following Valencia’s win over Young Boys earlier in the day.
Juventus hit the woodwork twice and squandered a host of golden chances to add to their advantage in the second half, and they were punished for that profligacy in the closing stages as United produced a late show to inflict a first defeat of the season on their hosts.
Juan Mata levelled things up with an 86th minute free kick before Leonardo Bonucci inadvertently turned the ball into his own net four minutes later to secure a 2-1 victory for the Red Devils, which will rank among their memorable Turin wins in the past, such as the 3-2 triumph in the 1999 semifinals and a 3-0 triumph on their last visit in 2003.
United were more competitive from the off than they were during the whole of the reverse fixture at Old Trafford as they put Juventus under more pressure on the ball, although the visitors still lacked a cutting edge in the final third.
Almost all of the goalmouth action fell to Juventus during the opening 45 minutes, with Rodrigo Bentancur seeing one effort deflected wide before Cristiano Ronaldo fired his first shot of the night past David de Gea’s post.
One of United’s best chances to test Wojciech Szczesny came from a free kick just outside the area, but Alexis Sanchez’s shot hit the wall and within seconds Juve were up the other end as Sami Khedira forced a save from De Gea with a powerful shot.
The home side’s pressure did begin to build shortly after the half-hour mark and De Gea was forced into his first testing save of the evening when he reacted sharply to keep out a Juan Cuadrado cross which deflected goalwards off the legs of Nemanja Matic.
De Gea was helpless just a minute later when Ronaldo cut the ball back for an unmarked Khedira inside the area, but the German – drafted into the starting lineup in place of Blaise Matuidi – dragged his finish against the post when he should have scored.
Despite United holding their own for the most part, it took until first-half stoppage time for their first shot on target to arrive, and even then it was a simple one for Szczesny to gather from Pogba’s speculative long-range effort.
The visitors did create a much better chance in the opening stages of the second half, though, with the in-form Anthony Martial cutting inside from the left channel and curling a finish narrowly past the post when looking for the bottom far corner.
United were rescued by the woodwork for a second time just a minute later, though, as Juventus responded with a stunning Paulo Dybala effort which turned De Gea into a mere spectator but crashed against the crossbar.
If De Gea was left dumbfounded and helpless by the quality of that effort, the opening goal was past him before he could even react as Ronaldo ended a five-game European drought and scored his first Champions League goal for Juventus in style.
Leonardo Bonucci’s pass over the defence was exquisite, and Ronaldo connected with the sweetest of volleys to fire a goal of the season contender against his former club.