CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Big Match Feature: Manchester United v Juventus
One of European football’s most enduring – and even – rivalries is renewed for a first time in more than 15 years as Manchester United welcome Juventus to Old Trafford.
Perennial Uefa Champions League rivals around the turn of the century, Juventus travel to England with the upper hand in Group H having won both their games so far to collect six points, two more than their second-placed opponents.
The last of the sides’ 12 past contests came in the 2002/03 second group stage, when United won both games – 2-1 in Manchester and 3-0 in Turin. Both sides would progress to the quarterfinals, but while that was where United’s campaign ended, Juve went all the way to the final, losing on penalties to AC Milan back at Old Trafford.
United have won the last three matches between the clubs – a run that started with a famous comeback in the semifinal second leg of their victorious 1998/99 campaign. After a 1-1 draw in England, Juve looked set to reach the final thanks to Filippo Inzaghi’s early double in Turin, but United hit back to win 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate, going on to beat Bayern München in dramatic circumstances in the final.
The teams met eight times between 1996 and 2003, all in the Uefa Champions League. Juventus won three of the first four in that sequence (L1) but none of the last four (D1 L3).
Overall the sides have each won five matches, with two draws – each scoring 15 goals.
Having eased to a 3-0 victory at debutants Young Boys on matchday one, United were held to a goalless home draw by Valencia in their second fixture.
Second in last season’s Premier League, United are in the group stage for the second year running and the 22nd time overall – fewer only than the 23 participations of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Porto.
José Mourinho’s side finished top of their section in 2017/18 ahead of Basle, CSKA Moskva and Benfica, but then bowed out in the first knockout round, losing 2-1 on aggregate to Sevilla (0-0 away, 1-2 home) in the last 16.
The Red Devils have lost only three of their last 22 European matches, home and away (W14 D5).
United won all three home games in last season’s group stage; the Sevilla loss ended a 21-match unbeaten run in Europe at Old Trafford (W17 D4), since a 2-1 reverse against Real Madrid in the 2012/13 Uefa Champions League round of 16 second leg.
The English club have won all their last five home matches against Italian visitors – most recently a 4-0 defeat of AC Milan in the 2009/10 Uefa Champions League round of 16 second leg – keeping clean sheets in the last four. United are unbeaten in their last eight matches with Serie A clubs, home and away (W6 D2).
The Bianconeri are still to concede in Group H having won both games; they overcame the first-half dismissal of former United forward Cristiano Ronaldo to win 2-0 at Valencia on matchday one, Miralem Pjanic scoring both goals from the penalty spot. A Paulo Dybala hat-trick sealed a 3-0 defeat of Young Boys in Turin last time out.
Juventus claimed their seventh successive Serie A title in 2017/18, and are in the Uefa Champions League group stage for the 19th time overall. They last failed to reach the round of 16 in 2013/14.
In last season’s Uefa Champions League, Juve finished second to Barcelona in their section before ousting Tottenham in the round of 16 (2-2 home, 2-1 away). Their season looked to be over when they went down 3-0 at home to Real Madrid in the quarterfinal first leg – a repeat of the 2017 final, won 4-1 by the Spanish side – only for Juve to score three times in the return. Ronaldo, however, had the last word against his current club, converting a penalty deep into added time to end Juve’s campaign.
Juventus kicked off their 2017/18 Uefa Champions League campaign with a 3-0 defeat at Barcelona but are unbeaten in five away games since, winning the last four.
Juve are on an eight-match (W4 D4) unbeaten run against Premier League clubs, winning four of the last five. The victory at Tottenham last season extended their away run without defeat to four matches (W2 D2); Juve had lost their previous seven games in England.
Winners in 1985 and 1996, Juventus have played in nine European Cup finals – losing a record seven, including all of their last five. 8
Links and Trivia
Cristiano Ronaldo was a Manchester United player between 2003 and 2009, scoring in the club’s victory in the 2008 Uefa Champions League final – although he also had a penalty saved in the shoot-out. He won three Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two English League Cups, scoring 118 goals in 292 appearances for United.
Paul Pogba left United for Juventus in 2012, returning to Manchester in 2016. He scored 28 goals in 124 Serie A games for Juve, winning the Scudetto in each of his four seasons and appearing in the 2015 Uefa Champions League final.
José Mourinho was coach of Internazionale Milano between 2008 and 2010, winning two Serie A titles and the Uefa Champions League in 2009/10 to complete the treble. His record against Juve as Inter coach was W3 D1 L1.
Mourinho was coach of Ronaldo and Sami Khedira at Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013, and Juan Cuadrado at Chelsea in 2015.
• Have also played in England:
Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal 2009–15, Brentford 2009/10 loan)
Emre Can (Liverpool 2014–18)
Juan Cuadrado (Chelsea 2015)
• Have also played in Italy:
Matteo Darmian (Milan 2006–09, Padova 2009/10, Palermo 2010/11, Torino 2011–15)
Alexis Sánchez (Udinese 2008–11)
Sergio Romero (Sampdoria 2011–13 & 2014/15)
• Have played together:
Alexis Sánchez & Medhi Benatia (Udinese 2010/11)
Alexis Sánchez & Wojciech Szczesny (Arsenal 2014/15)
Victor Lindelöf & João Cancelo (Benfica 2012–14)
Nemanja Matic & Juan Cuadrado (Chelsea 2015)
Fred & Douglas Costa (Shakhtar 2013–15)
• International teammates:
Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial & Blaise Matuidi (France)
Marcos Rojo, Sergio Romero & Paulo Dybala (Argentina)
Matteo Darmian & Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli, Federico Bernardeschi, Mattia De Sciglio, Mattia Perin, Daniele Rugani (Italy)
Fred, Andreas Pereira & Alex Sandro, Douglas Costa (Brazil)
Pogba scored in France’s Fifa World Cup final victory against Croatia in July, Mario Mandžukic scoring both a goal and an own goal for Croatia. Blaise Matuidi was also in the France line-up.
Mandžukic scored the extra-time winner in Croatia’s semifinal against an England side featuring Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young and Marcus Rashford.
Ronaldo scored a hat-trick past David de Gea as Spain and Portugal drew 3-3 in the World Cup group stage.
United ended a run of four games without a win in all competitions (D3 L1) by recovering from conceding twice in the first ten minutes to beat Newcastle 3-2 at Old Trafford on 6 October, Alexis Sánchez scoring a late winner – his first club goal since 21 April.
United were denied victory at Mourinho’s former club Chelsea on Saturday by a goal deep into added time, having to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Anthony Martial scored both goals at Chelsea and has three in his last two appearances for United.
Romelu Lukaku had scored four goals in four United matches before matchday one, but has drawn a blank in his last seven appearances.
Lukaku did, however, score both goals in Belgium’s 2-1 Uefa Nations League win against Switzerland on 12 October and has five in his last four outings for his country.
Marcus Rashford scored one – past club-mate David de Gea – and set up another in England’s 3-2 Uefa Nations League win in Spain on 15 October.
Eric Bailly was on target in Ivory Coast’s 4-0 win against the Central African Republic in CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying on 12 October.
Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic both withdrew from international duty with ankle injuries, both returning at Chelsea, when Ander Herrera (ankle) made his first appearance since 25 September as a substitute.
Scott McTominay was withdrawn at halftime against Newcastle and has been suffering with a knee problem. Jesse Lingard (groin) has not played since 25 September while Marouane Fellaini has a hamstring injury.
Marcos Rojo, who has not played this season, is suffering from a minor injury.
On 18 October, Shaw agreed a new five-year contract with United.
Leonardo Bonucci made his 50th Uefa Champions League appearance on matchday two, a landmark Alex Sandro and Andrea Barzagli will reach with their next games in the competition.
Juve’s winning start to the season was ended by a 1-1 home draw against Genoa on Saturday, the first Serie A game they had failed to win since 13 May.
Juventus had previously won ten out of ten in all competitions this season – setting a new mark for their best start, surpassing the eight successive wins at the start of 1930/31.
The Genoa draw was the first time Juve had failed to score two goals or more in this season; they had also kept five clean sheets in their previous six matches.
The Turin team started their bid for an eighth successive Serie A title with eight consecutive wins.
Juve have lost only once in their last 34 Serie A matches, winning 28.
Rodrigo Bentancur struck his first Juventus goal in the 2-0 win at Udinese on 6 October, Cristiano Ronaldo getting the other. Ronaldo, who was also on target in the Genoa draw, has five goals and four assists in his last six Serie A appearances.
His goal at the weekend made Ronaldo the first player to score 400 goals in the top five European leagues: 84 in the Premier League for Manchester United, 311 in the Liga for Real Madrid and five in Serie A for Juventus.
Paulo Dybala limped out of the friendly between Argentina and Brazil on 16 October with a right knee injury, but came on in the second half against Genoa.
Federico Bernardeschi scored in Italy’s 1-1 friendly draw against Ukraine on 10 October and, together with Giorgio Chiellini and Bonucci, was in the side that beat Wojciech Szczesny’s Poland 1-0 four days later, confirming the Poles’ relegation from Uefa Nations League Group A.
Alex Sandro scored his first goal for Brazil in a 2-0 friendly win against Saudi Arabia on 12 October.
Juventus announced that Emre Can is sidelined as he will have to be monitored for a thyroid problem that could require surgical treatment.
Sami Khedira has not played since suffering a thigh injury on matchday one, although Douglas Costa (ankle) returned against Genoa having also been out since Juve’s first Uefa Champions League game.
Mattia De Sciglio has not featured this season due to a thigh problem while Daniele Rugani (ribs) has not played since 23 September, although both were unused substitutes at the weekend.
Full-back Leonardo Spianazzola was not included in the Uefa Champions League squad as he is recovering from knee surgery.
Ronaldo’s overhead kick for Real Madrid against his current club Juventus in last season’s Uefa Champions League quarterfinal first leg was voted Uefa.com Goal of the Season.
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