United rally late to defeat Juventus 2-1

HOME STRETCH?:Jose Mourinho’s side are two points behind the Group H leaders, while Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also on the verge of advancing

AFP, PARIS

Fri, Nov 09, 2018 - Page 16

Manchester United on Wednesday produced a stunning late comeback to beat Juventus 2-1 in what could be a turning point in their UEFA Champions League campaign, while a Gabriel Jesus hat-trick helped Manchester City all but secure a last-16 berth.

Pep Guardiola’s City crushed Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 on a night that saw Real Madrid also win big, as Bayern Munich closed in on a place in the knockout stage.

Juventus were within seconds of confirming their spot in the last 16 after Cristiano Ronaldo put them ahead in Turin, Italy, with a superb volley in the 65th minute.

The hosts had already hit the woodwork twice before that and should have been out of sight before Juan Mata equalized from an 86th-minute free-kick.

The turnaround was completed in the 90th minute, when Leonardo Bonucci scored an own-goal, and United boss Jose Mourinho delighted in taking to the field at the end, cupping an ear toward the home fans.

The former Inter coach said it was a response to insults from Juve supporters, and United are now two points behind the Italians in Group H.

“In a beautiful Italian city, they insulted me for 90 minutes. I didn’t insult them. I just made a little thing,” Mourinho told BT Sport. “It is a big victory for us, not just because we needed the points, but because it was away from home against an amazing team.”

The result was a blow for Valencia, who are still two points behind in third after beating BSC Young Boys 3-1 at Mestalla.

Santi Mina scored twice either side of a Roger Assale goal, before Carlos Soler sealed the win. Young Boys, who had Sekou Sanogo sent off, cannot now qualify.

There was less drama at the Etihad Stadium, where City — whose financial dealings have come under scrutiny in a series of Football Leaks allegations — eased to their biggest win in the competition.

Goals from David Silva and Riyad Mahrez bookended the victory. In between there was a stunner from Raheem Sterling, who was also awarded a penalty for kicking his own foot into the turf in the box. Jesus scored the spot-kick, the first of two penalties in his hat-trick.

City are to head to Olympique Lyonnais later this month requiring a draw to secure a last-16 place.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t qualified, but we are so close and will try to maintain this level,” said Guardiola, whose team play United on Sunday.

City would have been through already had Lyon not squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to 10-man TSG 1899 Hoffenheim.

Nabil Fekir and Tanguy Ndombele had the French club 2-0 up at the break, and the Germans had Kasim Nuhu sent off early in the second half.

However, Andrej Kramaric pulled one back and Lyon missed chances to secure the victory before Pavel Kaderabek’s stoppage-time equalizer.

Reigning European champions Madrid had no trouble against Viktoria Plzen in the Czech Republic, with Karim Benzema scoring twice in a 5-0 win.

Real Madrid were four ahead at the break, Benzema’s goals taking him to 200 for the club.

Casemiro and Gareth Bale also netted in the first half, while Toni Kroos completed the scoring with a delicious chip.

Santiago Solari has now overseen three victories, all with clean sheets, since being put in charge of Madrid, and the Spaniards are level atop Group G with AS Roma.

The Italians won 2-1 away to CSKA Moscow, with Kostas Manolas and Lorenzo Pellegrini scoring their goals either side of Arnor Sigurdsson’s equalizer.

CSKA, who had Hordur Magnusson sent off, still have a slim chance of qualifying, but Plzen are out.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich require just one more point to advance in Group E after Robert Lewandowski netted twice — the first a penalty — on his 100th European appearance in a 2-0 home win over AEK, who are eliminated.

Ajax remain well-placed to progress too. They are second, four points clear of third-placed SL Benfica, after a 1-1 draw in Portugal.

Jonas put Benfica ahead before Dusan Tadic equalized.