5 reasons why Manchester United won vs Juventus
Matchday 4 of the 2018/19 Champions League season has been played, and as expected, it provided lots of excitement and entertaining matches, with some clubs booking their spots in the next round, while others confirmed their eliminations.
The marquee match of matchday 4B was undoubtedly in Group H, as Juventus hosted Manchester United at the Juventus Stadium in Italy. It had so many sub-plots such as Ronaldo and Pogba facing their former clubs, as well as Mourinho’s history with Juve’s sworn enemies Inter (which the fans constantly jaded him for).
Juventus came into the match unbeaten in 14 matches across all competitions, and this saw them as favourites against a haphazard United. The Old Lady’s 1-0 victory at Old Trafford on matchday 3 also put them in pole position.
Juve dominated much of the game, and it seemed like the match would go according to the script when Ronaldo put the hosts ahead in the second half. It was an exquisite volley which could be a contender for the Puskas award to open his Champions League account for his new side, but United had other ideas.
In scenes reminiscent of 1999 when The Red Devils clawed back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 against the same opponent en-route their treble win in 1999, United also left it late here. Rallying back with less than five minutes to go to get a victory which solidified their stand in second place in group H and moved them two points clear of Valencia who had earlier on defeated Young Boys.
The result was largely unexpected, going by the recent form guide of both teams, as well as the way the match panned out. But as the saying goes, this is football, and anything is possible.
Here are five reasons why Manchester United pulled off the stunning comeback victory.
#5 Jose Mourinho’s inspired substitutions
The 55-year-old Portuguese manager is widely revered as one of the greatest managers in history and has carved a reputation of being successful wherever he has coached.
His struggles at United are well documented, as things have not exactly panned out as he would have wished at Old Trafford, and his struggles have seen him constantly linked with an exit from the dugout at Old Trafford.
He has however helped calm the storm in recent weeks and has guided the club to four consecutive victories in all competitions, with this victory unarguably one of the best performances by the club since his three-year tenure at the helm.
A large part of the victory has to, however, go to Jose Mourinho, as he proved that he has not lost any of the tactical acumens that led to him being christened The Special One, by making inspired substitutions which decided the match in a positive way.
In the aftermath of Ronaldo’s opener, Mou introduced Juan Mata to boost United’s creativity in the middle and supply crosses, as well as the much-maligned Marouane Fellaini to roughshod the Juventus backline and takes advantage of Mata’s crosses, and these impact substitutions proved to be a masterstroke, as they both influenced the outcome of the match.
Mata equalized with a stunning freekick from 20 yards barely five minutes after coming on, while Fellaini had a big hand in the winning goal, as it was his hassling in the box from an Ashley Young freekick which forced Alex Sandro to deflect into his own net.
Mourinho has long been chided for his ‘outdated’ tactics, but on the night he proved that class is indeed permanent and that he still has what it takes to roll with the big boys in tactical management.