Morata aglow as Juventus turn the corner

"From now you'll see a new Juventus," beamed Álvaro Morata, with a 2-1 win at Manchester City bringing an end to a barren spell for last season's finalists.

Paul Pogba celebrates a Juventus goal in Manchester
Paul Pogba celebrates a Juventus goal in Manchester ©AFP/Getty Images

The first glimpse of "a new Juventus" is how matchwinner Álvaro Morata described it but last night's Group D encounter in Manchester felt, in some ways, like more of the same for both the Bianconeri and Manchester City.

Juventus, as during their run to last season's final, pulled off a big result in a timeworn fashion. City, as their fans might reflect, failed to deliver the statement of intent they were looking for in Europe after 11 straight Premier League wins.

This was a Juventus without Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tévez – all departed since June's UEFA Champions League final – and they arrived in Manchester with one point from their opening three Serie A games. Yet the men in zebra stripes, including newcomers Juan Cuadrado, Hernanes and Mario Mandžukić, absorbed City's pressure and then snatched victory.

Morata, scorer of their 81st-minute winning goal, said "the key was sticking together" and the Spaniard is hopeful last night's impressive victory will give their campaign lift-off.

"We haven't started the season in the best way possible but we've had a lot of changes from last season and it is not easy when you change almost half the team," he told UEFA.com. "Today can be a starting point for us – we've just beaten one of the best teams in Europe so that must put us up there too. We just have to get used to playing together. From now you'll see a new Juventus.

"What got us the victory was working together defensively. We shut down the space for a team who have some of the best players in the world."

It helped, of course, to have Gianluigi Buffon in goal. Twice he denied Raheem Sterling when the winger – 17 years his junior – had a clear sight of goal. Twice he foiled David Silva on the follow-up. Ahead of Buffon, the rest of Massimiliano Allegri's team were organised and resilient.

Bony: City paid for missed chances
Bony: City paid for missed chances

Morata's spectacular winning strike was, he added, "a goal I needed" after a start to the season hampered by injury and suspension. "I was dead on my feet after 80 minutes," he confessed, yet just 60 seconds later he curled the ball beyond Joe Hart to build on the equalising volley by Mandžukić.

As for City, their struggle to translate their domestic form to the European stage goes on. They have never had the springboard of an opening home win in a UEFA Champions League campaign and failed to build on the fortuitous own goal that gave them the lead. Defender Eliaquim Mangala reflected that they had paid a high price for lapses at the back.

"We were controlling the game, and then on those two balls [that we failed to clear] we conceded twice," he told UEFA.com. "At this level, you can't concede goals like that. They have a quality team. Today we paid for [our mistakes] right away.

"In the [domestic] league, I think you're allowed a bit more, not mistakes, but some moments when you are a bit less focused. That is not possible in the Champions League."

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