Juventus appeared to be on their way to another painful loss, but forward Mario Mandzukic and midfielder Alvaro Morata erased defender Giorgio Chiellini’s own goal with late second-half strikes to claim a 2-1 Champions League victory over Manchester City in the start of Group D play Tuesday at the Etihad Stadium.
Morata, who provided similar heroics against Real Madrid in the semifinals last year, launched a deep left-footed strike at the top of the box and pinged it off the post beyond goalkeeper Joe Hart to push Juve ahead and for three points in one of the tournament’s tougher groups.
With midfielder Paul Pogba’s assistance off a through ball down the middle of the pitch, Mandzukic wiped away Chiellini’s unfortunate header in the 58th minute that very well could have been ruled a foul against City center back Vincent Kompany for chasing the cornerkick well over the Italian’s back.
With the attack failing to generate many opportunities early, Juve escaped an early loss in and can control the group with a victory against Sevilla on Sept. 30 at their Serie A home.
For City, the loss was another difficult pill to swallow. After suffering an early Round-of-16 exit at the hands of eventual champion Barcelona last year, they squandered a chance to push the group’s strongest opponent on its heels despite largely outplaying Massimiliano Allegri’s side.
City parlayed their excellent work thus far in Premier League by controlling the match from the outset. They dominated possession 59-41, and forced six corners and had five shots on target.
However, Juve also benefitted greatly from excellent work in net by keeper Gianluigi Buffon, who turned back all four of City’s quality attempts at goal.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side faces a very difficult challenge next, when they take on Bundesliga’s Borussia Monchengladbach at Borussia Park on Sept. 30.
Check out the highlights and each goal below.