‘The spirit of Turin’ is etched as a phrase in the history of Manchester United and although this was not quite an occasion such as that epic Champions League semi-final against Juventus in 1999 they dug deep to claim a remarkable victory.
There was, as has been the trend of late, another late comeback but this was more impressive than previous occasions given the calibre of the opposition who are rightly regarded as one of the favourites to win this competition.
A late goal from substitute Juan Mata cancelled out an extraordinary strike Cristiano Ronaldo and then Ashley Young’s free-kick sparked an own goal. One down with four minutes to go with Juventus having struck the goal-frame twice and spurned a ridiculous number of chances, United somehow won it. Football, bloody hell as Ferguson said after winning the 1999 final.
It felt that Ronaldo would be the story given his affiliation to United and he scored a goal to grace any game. But it did not prove enough. At the end Mourinho marched onto the pitch, gesticulating before being spoken to by Leonardo Bonucci and escorted off by a Uefa official.