Jose Mourinho silences Juventus
United boss has last laugh on Turin tormentors as late winner completes incredible comeback
Manchester United gave boss Jose Mourinho the perfect answer to taunting Juventus fans as they struck twice in the final five minutes to secure a stunning 2-1 win against the Group H leaders in Turin.
Cristiano Ronaldo's spectacular volley looked set to sink his former club, but Juan Mata's 86th-minute free-kick and Alex Sandro's own goal three minutes later sent Juve crashing to their opening defeat of the season and first home loss in the group stages of Europe for nine years. Mourinho made an ear-cupping gesture to the home fans at the finish and he said it was in response to stick from the supporters.
"They insulted me for 90 minutes. I didn't insult them. I respect Juventus, I respect their players, their manager," he said.
"I respect everything, the quality they have and I am really, really proud of my boys because their performance was really good."
It was also a memorable night for Manchester City who thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0. It was City's biggest win in Europe's premier club competition and they will qualify as group winners with one game to spare if they beat Lyon in France later this month.
Some of the Juventus players were unhappy with Mourinho’s gesture and pursued him down the tunnel after the game.
United legend Paul Scholes commented: “This is everywhere he goes. You need to win with a bit of class sometimes, shake the managers hand. I don’t think there’s any need for it but that’s the way he is.”
Former United player Owen Hargreaves added: “It’s not necessary but it’s a remarkable result and it’s a big week for United and Mourinho.”
The Italians are still top but United’s comeback keeps them two points ahead of Valencia, who registered their first group win, 3-1 against Swiss side Young Boys at the Mestalla Stadium.
While Mourinho was critical of the Juventus support, he had nothing but praise for his players.
“The game was a very good game,” he added. “We performed at a high level. We had about five minutes after that goal to wake up again but the team was there until the last.
“On a beautiful Italian day, I made a little thing. I know millions are happy with the win. But I respect Juventus and the quality they have. I am really proud of my boys because they did everything.
“We had to come and not feel inferior. We were in a situation where we thought we needed to go to the last second of the match. The boys started really well and things were under control.
“Juventus have phenomenal players. That Cristiano Ronaldo goal was beautiful and the player (Leonardo Bonucci) that made that beautiful pass, is a central defender! They are a fantastic team with an amazing record at home.
“We have one final to play at home against Young Boys. If my mathematics is right then we qualify (only if Valencia don’t beat Juventus) so I think now I leave it to the Old Trafford people. I hope we arrive on time! We had an amazing escort here today — thank you to the Italian police.”
United midfielder Paul Pogba, who was returning to his old club, hailed a stunning victory.
“It was lovely we won,” he said. “That was most important.
“The fans were very welcoming with me and I really appreciate that. We played against a good team, but the three points were most important.
“I celebrate for the goal, it was strange it touched a lot of people. We’ve been playing well together and until the end we’ve done very well. We had maybe an extra breath or power to push it at the end.”
United fought back to win a Champions League game with two goals in the final five minutes of a match for the first time since the 1999 final against Bayern Munich.
Goalscorer Mata added: “What a nice last five minutes. It is a very good night for us to get three points against Juventus in Italy. It is amazing!
“They have fantastic players and are a top team. We come back to Manchester with three points and that is football!
“The first half was not bad. It was quite even. They had chances but in the second half it was a fantastic goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. They had a few clear chances after that to win the game but they didn’t and we came back. It is a very big step in the group.”
On the own goal and free-kick, he stated: “You know better than me because I didn’t see it! I have confidence in my free-kicks at the moment. I train a lot. After training I get the ball and try.”