Manchester's double whammy

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (centre), who had an outstanding match, celebrating with his team-mates after their victory over Manchester City.
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (centre), who had an outstanding match, celebrating with his team-mates after their victory over Manchester City.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Juventus comeback anchored by superior finishing, but naive style costs Man City

LONDON • For Manchester City, the sense of deja vu must feel suffocating. They have been rampant so far in the Premier League but then the Champions League anthem plays and suddenly they look rudderless and vulnerable.

It has become a recurring theme and, now in their fifth season of trying to find the right formula, they still look conspicuously short of being a team that understands European football at this level.

It must have been startling for Manuel Pellegrini to see the way his team crumpled in the final stages on Tuesday, when a winning position against Juventus became a 1-2 defeat.

The Italian champions were too streetwise for them and City's route through Group D now looks fraught with danger.


I expect that when we have chances, we must score. Because in Champions League games, the differences are very slight between the teams.

MANUEL PELLEGRINI, Manchester City manager, on his players' failure to score against Juventus

City had not conceded a goal in 10 hours and 36 minutes by the time Mario Mandzukic turned in the first goal for Juventus.

City had opened the scoring with an own-goal from Giorgio Chiellini that should never have stood as Vincent Kompany used the defender's back to gain a few centimetres.

But their naivety in the last 20 minutes, culminating in Alvaro Morata's winner, smacked of a team who have not learnt a great deal from their previous ordeals in this competition.

Fernandinho and Yaya Toure were overrun and occasionally outwitted in the Champions League last season, yet Pellegrini decided to pair them on this stage once more. And, with Samir Nasri and Raheem Sterling pushing so far forward in support of David Silva and Wilfried Bony, they were outnumbered on the counter-attack.

City could have done with better finishing. They created more chances. But Gianluigi Buffon denied Sterling in the second minute and then produced a double-save from Sterling and Silva.

Meanwhile, Bony struggled to make an impact in the absence of Sergio Aguero, who came on as a late substitute despite being ruled out of the game with a knee injury.

"I expect that when we have chances, we must score," said Pellegrini. "Because in Champions League games, the differences are very slight between the teams. Maybe Juventus didn't create so many (chances), but they finished well."

Victory was a welcome tonic for Juventus, whose Serie A title defence has started with two defeats and a draw, and Massimiliano Allegri hopes it will spark an upturn in their domestic fortunes, beginning with Sunday's trip to Genoa.

"Tonight's victory puts us in a good position," he said. "Perhaps it will also give the players a bit more confidence and create a good environment, so on Sunday we can try and win our first game in Serie A."


Luke Shaw will be out for at least six months after suffering a double fracture of his right leg. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

United's 1-2 defeat by PSV Eindhoven compounded by horror injury to Luke Shaw

EINDHOVEN • Manchester United fell 1-2 to PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday, but Louis van Gaal would probably concede that they lost something much more important.

Whatever United hope to achieve this season, they will probably have to do so without promising left-back Luke Shaw, who suffered a broken right leg at the Philips Stadion that could also jeopardise his chances of playing for England at Euro 2016.

That the player responsible for inflicting the horror injury was still on the field to cancel out Memphis Depay's 41st-minute opener will only have deepened van Gaal's sense of injustice.

Hector Moreno should have been sent off for the challenge that left Shaw in tears and needing oxygen. Furthermore, had United been awarded the penalty that should have been forthcoming, the game might have had a different outcome.

As it was, PSV capitalised on Moreno's equalising header on the stroke of half-time, and added a decisive second through Luciano Narsingh in the 57th minute to leave United facing an early battle in Group B.

United had not played badly. Some of the link-up play between Depay and Anthony Martial - given his first start in the absence of injured Wayne Rooney - offered a tantalising glimpse of what may lie in store in the future.

However, their defence struggled, with Matteo Darmian at fault for both goals. Van Gaal's decision to move Daley Blind to left-back to accommodate substitute Marcos Rojo in central defence also compounded the loss of cohesion.

Moreno - who had also suffered a broken leg last year while on international duty with Mexico - insisted that he did not foul Shaw, but was concerned for the 20-year-old.

He tweeted: "I wanna send my strength to @LukeShaw23. I've been through this before and I know how it feels so I hope a fast recovery for you and see u again on the field. All the best."

It was a bitter blow for Shaw, as he has shone this season after a difficult first year at Old Trafford after his move from Southampton.

"It is awful for a boy who came at age 18 to Manchester, had it very difficult at the start and then plays fantastically, and then it happens like this," said van Gaal.

"When he was in the dressing room he had an oxygen mask on. He was crying. I am not a doctor but when you have a double fracture, it is six months, and he will not play in the group phase."

Less than an hour after the injury, Shaw tweeted: "Thank you everyone for your messages, words can't describe how gutted I am, my road to recovery starts now, I will come back stronger."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2015, with the headline 'MANCHESTER'S DOUBLE WHAMMY'. Print Edition | Subscribe