United hero Mata knew he had to take free-kick

By Sports Desk November 08, 2018

Juan Mata asked captain Ashley Young to step aside so he could launch Manchester United's stunning Champions League comeback at Juventus.

A sublime Cristiano Ronaldo goal against his old club put the Serie A champions ahead but Mata, who had not long been introduced from the bench alongside Marouane Fellani, dispatched a free-kick after Paul Pogba was fouled on the edge of the area.

An Alex Sandro own goal then gave Jose Mourinho's men a stirring triumph – one made possible by diligent practice on the training ground by their Spanish playmaker.

"As soon as there was the free-kick in there, I had the confidence that I had to take it," Mata told United's official website.

"I told Ash, 'Please let me take it, because I can go over the wall'.

"It's very difficult for the goalkeeper because they don't see a lot [with the wall so close].

"So, I tried to do what I do in training a lot of times, practicing, practicing. It was important to score to make it 1-1 and, after, it led us to the 1-2. I think because of the venue and the importance of the game, it's one of the best [that I've scored]."

United are now second behind Juventus in a keenly contested Group H, with games against Young Boys and Mata's former club Valencia to come.

"We came back and did the most difficult thing, which is scoring twice when you're losing away against Juventus," he said.

"Fantastic team, fantastic stadium, great atmosphere, very difficult to play against. But this is football and when you have two dangerous free-kicks you have to make the most of them and we did that in the last five minutes. It was a very, very positive feeling at the end of the game."

With the Manchester derby at Etihad Stadium to come on Sunday, Mata added: "I will highlight the passion of the team, the personality of the team, the effort of the team.

"We kept believing we would have one or two chances and maybe score one."

Related items

  • Athletic extend Muniain contract to 2024 Athletic extend Muniain contract to 2024

    Iker Muniain has signed a new contract, committing his future to Athletic Bilbao through to 2024.

    The 25-year-old missed much of last season due to injury but has featured in 11 LaLiga games this term, although Athletic are hovering dangerously close to the relegation zone.

    Muniain has shown fine form, though, contributing four goals, including finding the net in Athletic's 1-1 home draw against Real Madrid in September.

    The versatile forward, who has spent his whole career at Athletic, won his sole Spain cap in 2012.

    The club confirmed Muniain's new deal does not include any release clause.

  • PSG to wait for Neymar, Mbappe injury updates PSG to wait for Neymar, Mbappe injury updates

    Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are not seriously injured but Paris Saint-Germain confirmed the attacking duo will require further medical tests ahead of a crucial Champions League clash with Liverpool.

    Both forwards were injured in international friendlies on Tuesday, Brazil captain Neymar limping off after eight minutes against Cameroon while Mbappe was withdrawn in the first half of France's fixture with Uruguay.

    PSG's perfect Ligue 1 record is on the line at home to Toulouse on Saturday but head coach Thomas Tuchel will be more concerned about Neymar and Mbappe's availability to face Liverpool at the Parc des Princes four days later.

    The club confirmed in a brief medical update that Neymar has been diagnosed with "a right adductor strain", while Mbappe has "a bruised right shoulder".

    "They will undergo a 48-hour period of treatment before further evaluation," the club's statement said.

    PSG are third in Group C of the Champions League with two games remaining, a point behind both Napoli and Liverpool.

    They host last season's beaten finalists before heading to Red Star Belgrade in their last pool fixture

  • Icardi hopeful of Messi return for Copa America Icardi hopeful of Messi return for Copa America

    Mauro Icardi is hopeful Lionel Messi will return to the Argentina scene again ahead of next year's Copa America.

    Messi has not played for his country since their last-16 exit from the World Cup at the hands of eventual winners France and his international future remains unclear.

    They have lost just one of those six matches under the stewardship of interim coach Lionel Scaloni, with Icardi on the scoresheet for the first time as Argentina claimed a second successive 2-0 win over Mexico on Tuesday.

    Asked about Messi after the game, Icardi told TyC Sports: "He's the best player in the world and we all hope he comes back with us, especially with the Copa America coming up."

    The Inter striker also hailed the team spirit under Scaloni, who does not expect his impressive results to earn him the role on a full-time basis.

    "I'd lacked a goal, I was waiting for it and now I'm happy," Icardi added. "It's not easy to go without scoring. It creates a lot of chatter, but now I hope to keep going like this.

    "We're a really great group, we can grow a lot and we're happy with the work of Leo [Scaloni], Walter [Samuel] and Pablo [Aimar].

    "Of course, it'll be the federation which decides their future but I can say that right now, there's an atmosphere in the national team like never before

    "Now we all feel comfortable and something very important is being built. I'd worked under the previous management, but I've never seen the friendship and union that exists between us now."

SportsMax Zone

Latest Tweets

There will be a new Manning Cup champion in Jamaica this year. See story here: https://t.co/qM6WbUtHhz… https://t.co/zYbM9Osoyb
Cedella Marley and Island Trinketz have partnered to raise funds for the Reggae Girlz. See story here:… https://t.co/TvzIusdHGf
#Dybala of #Juventus greets a child in a wheelchair in a heartwarming moment. #ChampionsLeague ⚽ action continues… https://t.co/CtKtgibPsE
Follow SportsMax on Twitter
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.