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Thursday 8 December 2016

Pogba powers Juve to leapfrog City

Juventus 1 Manchester City 0

Mario Mandzukic
Mario Mandzukic

Mario Mandzukic scored the only goal as Juventus leapfrogged Manchester City in Champions League Group D with a 1-0 win in Turin.

The Croatian struck after 18 minutes at the Juventus Stadium as the home side not only secured their place in the last 16 but put themselves in pole position to claim top spot.

The Italians were good value for their victory, with reported City target Paul Pogba outstanding, but the injury-hit visitors had a host of chances in an entertaining contest.

Substitute Raheem Sterling had one of the best of them as he shot wide late on while Fernando had a header turned onto the post and Fernandinho blasted over when well placed.

City again looked vulnerable in defence without captain Vincent Kompany and are still missing the craft of David Silva while Sergio Aguero is not fully match-fit. They will also be concerned to have lost Joe Hart to injury late on.

City had shown signs of promise from early on as Fernandinho drove wide after Kevin De Bruyne's dangerous low ball was poorly dealt with by the Juve defence. But although City looked composed in possession, Juventus were even stronger and certainly more clinical in the final third.

Pogba could not be contained and a brilliant backheel to release Mandzukic caught City completely unaware, but the visitors were rescued by an offside flag. There was no escape after 18 minutes as Alex Sandro, also impressive on the right, curled in a hanging cross and Mandzukic shook off the attention of Nicolas Otamendi to to volley past Hart. City felt Otamendi was fouled but referee Felix Brych felt Mandzukic's challenge was fair.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon saved Juve at a corner early in the second half as he palmed a Fernando header onto the post and grabbed the loose ball at the feet of Yaya Toure.

City fought to the end but it was not to be their night.

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