It was unexpected, it was thrilling and yet, in a sense, it added up. Manchester United ran out winners against Juventus in the Champions League on Diwali night, doing what they've been doing of late and scoring late in the game.
To say they hadn't been fancied in Turin, a fortnight after losing 1-0 at Old Trafford to the same side, would have been embarrassingly accurate. Yet that is the gulf between the two giants of European football these days, in terms of recent trophies and perception. However with the amount of continental talent available to Mourinho, including himself, United were able to effectively manage enough possession through both halves to remain somewhat in control the entire time.
It wasn't as though Juventus weren't the better side though. They missed a bucket-load of chances, with Cuadrado's and Khedira's sticking out in memory, and David De Gea made equally as many excellent saves. Dybala was excellent. He is deceptively quick and has a goalscorer's ability to strike. The excellent Victor Lindelof narrowly prevented him from a second rebound tap-in in as many games, and the bar felt the brunt of a shooting star curler. Bentacur looked class in midfield.
Manchester United on the other hand, looked like they were asking for it. Pogba gave it away more than once, something he is prone to do, and Alexis Sanchez didn't really get into it. His free-kick straight into the wall never gave the impression that he knew what he was doing -- and neatly summing his match. The others -- defenders, Herrera and Matic -- however, gave the Old Lady little breathing room. Both midfielders took yellow cards, with the Serbian surely making Mourinho skip a beat for a foul on Dybala.
And then, there was Ronaldo. He's perfected himself as an attacker, long-time Manchester United fans would have surely made note. He almost couldn't showboat by the end, only ever intervening for fleeting pass-and-run interchanges, all of which only ever added speed to proceedings. Thrice he looked like he would manage rifle one past United's Spanish keeper once again -- finally converting on the fourth with an almost telepathic connection with the trajectory of Bonucci's looping ball. It was well worth the exuberant praise of the commentators and Allegri's reaction and being the first goal the top scorer in European football has scored for Juventus, significant.
It was to be another Portuguese's night however, as Mourinho hooked Lingard for a more direct threat in Rashford and swiftly backed that up with the tall and accurate partnership of Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata. The Spaniard would strike first, showing once again to be very dangerous with free-kicks from a left-footer's range. Another free-kick, an inswinger into the Szczesny far post would provide the winner, with at least four players landing in positions that ensured the ball would be deflected into the net, the only question being whether to give it to Fellaini, whose hair had brushed the ball, or one of the unlucky Juve defenders -- likely Sandro -- who got the final touch.
United appear to have made a habit of falling behind, then rallying. Second-halves have become infuriatingly superior to the first 45 for fans, and there's a capacity for being uninspiring till they have no choice in the matter. But this Manchester United team has racked up a very eye-catching win, the kind there isn't any arguing against. It's also shown that there's more to it than being a feared attacking force. Manchester City can be nullified, despite their proclivity to win 6-0, the Red Devils would have noticed before the derby this weekend, and they'll will want to settle qualification into the last 16 in Europe at the end of this month when Young Boys come to Manchester and Juventus host Valencia. For the moment United have the wind in their sails and they could start reeling teams in, starting the noisy neighbours.
David De Gea - (9) Absolutely world class. Ronaldo may not exactly see why but Ed Woodward has to keep the Spanish #1
Ashley Young - (7) Not quite as good as he was at Old Trafford, but still a remarkably assured performance, especially given the opposition. Could have done with a more traditional winger than Lingard
Chris Smalling - (7) Always looking guilty, the Englishman made it through the piece. He was ably assisted and won as many as he lost against Ronaldo and co
Victor Lindelof - (8) The billing of being Manchester United's best technical player may be helping the defender with other parts of the game, particularly belief, though he still has assuredness to add to his game. Had a good night but was schooled by the surgical geometry of the Juve goal
Luke Shaw - (7) Again, gave as good as he got. Not afraid to foul and not afraid in general, Shaw was a useful outlet and scrapper on the away team's left flank
Ander Herrera - (6) A case of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as United appeared to play better with him on the field than he played himself
Nemanja Matic - (8) And why can't he play as the fulcrum in midfield with passers around him?
Paul Pogba - (7) Tried, but once again appearing to be on a different wavelength than his team. Pogba blows hot and cold, producing as many turnovers as moments of genius. On his return night, he would be happier than anyone to leave with a win
Jesse Lingard - (6) Never really got into it. It's possible he's better deployed on the other side from where he can link up in a goalbound direction rather than making for the wing
Alexis Sanchez - (6) Ran around a lot but shirked the kind of challenge that helped United win in the league over the weekend
Anthony Martial - (7) A clear threat. Gets a chance every game and could have scored on the night. The confidence of both player and coach are palpable
Marcus Rashford (sub. 70') - (7) Missed a glorious chance to add an element of incredulity in the result. Shot like Ronaldo from distance but was wide
Marouane Fellaini (sub. 79) - (8) A match-winning performance? Did what he was brought on to do and got United a goal (maybe own-goal)
Juan Mata (sub. 79) - (8) The spark behind the comeback, Mata made up for his relative anonymity in the reverse encounter. He's clearly Manchester United's best attacker, but will Mourinho start him at the Etihad?