United steals Ronaldo’s thunder

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JUVENTUS’ Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo shows his abs as he celebrates after opening the scoring during the UEFA Champions League group H football match Juventus vs Manchester United at the Allianz stadium in Turin. AFP

DISAPPOINTING OUTCOME

TURIN, Italy — Cristiano Ronaldo scored his first Champions League goal for Juventus, but a stunning Manchester United comeback snatched a 2-1 win for the Premier League side to delay the Italians’ passage to the Last 16 on Wednesday.

It’s not that we spoiled his (Ronaldo) goal, but five minutes from the end this shouldn’t have happened basically

Ronaldo struck with a magnificent first-time volley on 65 minutes to seemingly leave Juventus on course for the knockout phase, but Juan Mata equalized with an 86th-minute free-kick before Leonardo Bonucci turned into his own net.

Delighted United manager Jose Mourinho walked out onto the pitch at the Allianz Stadium cupping his ears and winking towards the crowd after a win that gave his side seven points from four games — two points behind leaders Juventus with two matches to play in Group H.

Juventus had proved wasteful with Sami Khedira and Paulo Dybala both hitting the woodwork before five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo brought the capacity 41,470 crowd to their feet when he hammered home Bonucci’s long pass from just inside United’s half.

We played a fantastic game, to our top level, as we cannot be any better than this.

“It’s not that we spoiled his (Ronaldo) goal, but five minutes from the end this shouldn’t have happened basically,” said Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, whose side fell to their first defeat of the season.

“It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, but we can’t win all the time. It’s better to have this type of stumble tonight.”

“What really annoys me is losing a match we deserved to win, but at this stage it doesn’t matter that much, we still have nine points.”

It was the eighth goal this season for the 33-year-old Ronaldo, who arrived from Real Madrid in July in a deal estimated to cost 340 million euros in total over four years, on top of the 110 million-euro transfer fee.

It was also the 121st Champions League goal for the player who holds the all-time record, and first since the 90th-minute penalty he scored for Real Madrid against Juventus in their dramatic quarter-final, second leg in Spain last April.

“We played a fantastic game, to our top level, as we cannot be any better than this,” said Mourinho.

“A point or three would have changed little for Juventus, but three points makes a big difference to us.”

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