Old Trafford silenced, Old Lady sing
IT IS a tale of two famous clubs in two countries. Yesterday, while Manchester United continued to search for brilliance in the English Premier League, Juventus continued to swagger in Italy.
At Old Trafford, a spirited Stoke City performance denied United as Joe Allen pounced late to score for the second consecutive week and secure a 1-1 draw.
United thought they had done enough to win when substitute Anthony Martial put them ahead on 69 minutes, two minutes after coming off the bench.
But Allen, who should have scored earlier, was on hand after David de Gea fumbled a Glen Johnson effort and Jonathan Walters' shot came back off the bar.
Although Paul Pogba hit the bar late on, the result was no more than the visitors deserved after denying United with a backs-to-the-wall showing that belied their lowly status in the table.
In Italy, Gonzalo Higuain hit a brace to help Juventus (nicknamed Old Lady) cement top spot in Serie A with a 3-0 win away at Empoli.
Massimiliano Allegri's men travelled to the Carlo Castellani stadium, where the hosts' best result against the Bianconeri was a scoreless draw in 2008, confident of ensuring that they would remain on top of the table going into the international break.
Yet, the Turin giants missed a host of first-half chances before Argentine striker Paulo Dybala finally broke the deadlock on 65 minutes.
It opened the floodgates, Higuain pouncing on Mario Lemina's precision pass only two minutes later to beat Lukasz Skorupski from the edge of the area.
Three minutes after that, the Argentine cheekily dispossessed Marco Zambelli yards from the Empoli goal to round the Polish goalkeeper for his second of the day.
Higuain moves on to seven goals in all competitions this season, six in Serie A.
Juventus, aiming for a record sixth consecutive Serie A title this season, are now four points ahead of Napoli ahead of their visit to Atalanta.