United boss gives Juve fans an ear­ful

Taranaki Daily News - - Sport -

Af­ter lis­ten­ing to taunts from the Ju­ven­tus crowd for 90 min­utes, Manch­ester United man­ager Jose Mour­inho couldn’t help but pay them back in kind.

Mour­inho had to be es­corted off the pitch yes­ter­day af­ter cel­e­brat­ing his side’s 2-1 come­back win over the Ital­ian side in the Cham­pi­ons League by cup­ping his hand to his ear to the crowd af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle.

The ges­ture sparked a small al­ter­ca­tion with Ju­ven­tus play­ers that over­shad­owed one of the most im­por­tant re­sults of the sea­son for United, which has strug­gled do­mes­ti­cally but now has a great chance of reach­ing the knock­out stage in Europe.

‘‘I came here to do my job and I was in­sulted for 90 min­utes,’’ Mour­inho said. ‘‘I wouldn’t do that ges­ture again but I don’t think I of­fended any­one and at the time it seemed like the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse to those who had in­sulted all my fam­ily, apart from my In­ter one too.’’

Mour­inho is un­pop­u­lar among Ju­ven­tus fans af­ter man­ag­ing bit­ter ri­val In­ter Mi­lan for three years. Af­ter United’s 1-0 loss to Ju­ven­tus at home two weeks ago, he re­sponded to the goad­ing of the Ital­ian fans by hold­ing up three fin­gers to­ward them, de­not­ing the tre­ble of ti­tles – Cham­pi­ons League, Serie A and Ital­ian Cup – he won with In­ter in the 2009-10 sea­son.

This time he had an­other win to cel­e­brate, af­ter watch­ing his team fight back from Cris­tiano Ron­aldo’s spec­tac­u­lar open­ing goal.

Juan Mata lev­elled with a free kick four min­utes from time and Alex San­dro net­ted an own goal in the fi­nal minute as United blew their Cham­pi­ons League group wide open.

Ju­ven­tus de­fender Leonardo Bonucci an­grily ap­proached Mour­inho as he cupped his ear at the Bian­coneri fans and the United coach was es­corted off the pitch by a Uefa of­fi­cial and some mem­bers of his staff.

In other matches, United’s crosstown ri­vals Manch­ester City en­joyed a 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in a match fea­tur­ing a bizarre penalty awarded to City af­ter Eng­land winger Ra­heem Ster­ling fell over af­ter stub­bing his toe in the turf.

‘‘I just kicked the floor by ac­ci­dent,’’ Ster­ling said. ‘‘I didn’t mean to fall over, it was an ab­so­lute sham­bles from my be­half.’’

Other win­ners yes­ter­day were Roma, Va­len­cia, Bay­ern Mu­nich and Real Madrid.

AP

Manch­ester United man­ager Jose Mour­inho cups a hand to his ear in a ges­ture to Ju­ven­tus fans af­ter United’s dra­matic 2-1 win.

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