A first half tap in from Paulo Dybala earned Juventus a victory against Manchester United on a night Cristiano Ronaldowas largely silent on his return to Old Trafford.
Much akin to United's last two games, this one followed the 'game of two halves' pattern as United gave Juventus a real scare in the second half after a very forgettable first half.
Manchester United approached this tactically very similar to the Chelsea game wherein Mata was tasked with blocking Pjanic's passing alleys like he did with Jorginho at the weekend. But Pjanic hardly allowed Mata to get into the game, even defensively as he constantly pulled out his quarterback position dragging the United number 8 with him. This movement created a lot of space where Dybala dropped in and simultaneously Ronaldo occupied the half space between United's defence and midfield.
The clever interchange between Juventus' front three caused United a lot of problems as the defenders didn't know whether to mark the opposition or space. Moreover, the front three were playing very narrow which left a lot of space for the fullbacks to bomb forward and Cancelo particularly benefitted from this as Martial was lazy in tracking back or occupying the space.
It was from one such movement that Juventus found the only goal of the game in the 17th minute. Cancelo had dragged Luke Shaw out of position and Martial was late in occupying the vacant space which allowed Ronaldo to get a cross in. The ball bounced luckily off a diving Cuadrado and Smalling melee to Dybala, and Matic having let Dybala run free, allowed the Argentine to tap in unchallenged from 6 yards out.
United did respond in the second half as they compressed the space between their defensive line and front-line giving Juventus very little space in the midfield to control the game. Matic and Mata often got tight to the opposition and United nicked possession off Juventus multiple times in midfield.
Lukaku, although largely disappointing on the ball, was clever in his movement without it as he often moved into the half space between Chiellini and Alex Sandro forcing the latter to come narrower. This afforded Ashley Young a lot of joy high up the pitch and United looked to breach the Juventus citadel for long periods in the second half.
The closest they came to scoring was when Pogba turned Pjanic, having regained possession on the top of the box, and curled a left footer which hit the post, then the keeper's back but would not cross the line. Pogba was one of the more impressive United players on the night and even in the first half gave a very good account of himself courtesy his clever turns, passing range and forward bursts apart from tactical discipline.
Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, was largely ineffective in the game apart from two shots on goal, both of which De Gea reacted brilliantly, as he is wont to, denying the Portuguese a goal on his return.
In United's defence, Lindelof with the latter being particularly impressive. Lindelof was excellent in playing the ball out from the back as well as in one vs one situations where he often outsmarted pacy dribblers to regain possession.
For Juventus, although they tailed off in the second half under pressure from United, it was a very controlled performance in the first half where they had 67% of the ball with a 92% pass accuracy and looked a class above their counterparts.
Chiellini, the Juventus skipper, said after the game that his team expected the second half pressure from United after the Chelsea game and termed their opposition as a 'snake' because of their habit to suddenly bite back in a game after long periods of seeming hibernation.
Luke Shaw, meanwhile, told the media that United showed too much respect to their opponents.
"I think first half we game them too much respect. Coming here to Old Trafford we let them play far too easily. I think that's why the result changed today. We have to make it right when we go to Juve next," said the 23-year-old with Lindelof nodding in agreement.
Jose Mourinho, on the other hand, lauded the Juventus centre-back pairing of Bonucci and Chiellini hinting his team could be similarly creative if they had defenders of the same quality.
"In a top team you have to look to Chiellini, to Bonucci and I think Juventus when is in front it is very difficult [for them] to concede a goal. They [Juventus] are a different level of quality, stability, experience and knowhow. And in the base of the team, they have Bonucci and Chiellini. That allows them to play with freedom in attack," said the United manager.
The two sides meet for the return fixture in a fortnight at Turin and this time it will Paul Pogba's turn to celebrate a homecoming.