Tuesday 20 November 2018

Early Dybala goal the difference as Juventus edge Man United on Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford

Man United 0 Juventus 1

Juventus' Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Juventus' Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Simon Peach

Manchester United were outclassed as Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus overcame Jose Mourinho's men in a Champions League clash that was worryingly one-sided at times.

It had been 15-and-a-half years since the most decorated sides from England and Italy last met in a competitive fixture, but anyone watching Tuesday's Old Trafford encounter will be under no illusion who is now in the better health.

Juventus toyed with United at times as Ronaldo enjoyed a winning return to his old stomping ground, with his cross leading to Paulo Dybala's goal on an evening that sometimes threatened to be far worse worse than the eventual 1-0 scoreline.

Mourinho's side did improve in the second half and former Bianconeri midfielder Paul Pogba hit a post, but the Italian giants held on to move five points clear of second-placed United in Group H as a night that started with frustration ended in disappointment.

Just like Valencia's visit at the start of the month, United were late to the ground after being caught in traffic, despite changing their preparations.

Mourinho decided to walk to the stadium and the team coach finally arrived just 50 minutes before kick-off - although few of the players really turned up when play got under way.

Juventus played with their passive hosts in the opening period, with United left chasing shadows in a display of dominance which deserved a greater reward than just Dybala's 17th-minute goal.

Ronaldo's cross was key to the opener and the former United forward would have scored at Old Trafford just as he did with Real Madrid in 2013 were it not for an outstanding one-handed stop by David De Gea early in the second half.

The 33-year-old, who on the eve of the game again denied an allegation of rape, faded as United pushed for a leveller, with Pogba's 75th-minute strike off a post the closest the home side came.

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