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So close, but so far for Man United’s Paul Pogba against former team Juventus

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo playing against former side Manchester United wasn’t the only subplot of Tuesday’s Champions League tie between the two sides. Lining up against the ex-United star, Paul Pogba was also playing a former team, having been at Juventus from 2012 to 2016. Yet this was a case of so close, but so far for the midfielder, as he nearly had a highlight moment but went home frustrated after a 1-0 loss. Here’s a closer look at the Frechman’s display. KEY STATS Goals – 0 Assists – 0 Shots – 3 Shots on target – 1 Passing accuracy – 83% Dribbles – 2 30-SECOND REPORT While the attention was on Ronaldo’s tryst with his former club, this was a reunion for Pogba as well, having left Juventus a little over two years ago. Former teammates Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci must have passed on some tips to their teammates, as Pogba was well-marshalled during the first half. He improved after half-time, dominating the ball from a deeper role and nearly grabbing a stunning equaliser with a shot that hit the post. But he couldn’t save the Red Devils from defeat. GOT RIGHT Dominating the ball Pogba had the most touches of any United player, with 83, a mark topped by only three players on the pitch overall. He was on the ball as much as he could be, and, in the second half, he was much more effective with it, finding the right runs and passes. Dribbling The Frenchman is an accomplished dribbler, and he showed it on a couple of occasions. Pogba can glide past defenders, and he used that ability to good effect in the second half. GOT WRONG Too often recently, Pogba has embodied the tale of two halves mantra as much as his entire team has. Whatever it is about United currently – whether they need to fall behind for Jose Mourinho to take off the handbrakes, or whether they simply like his half-time team talks – Pogba is emblematic of how frustrating this side is. In the first half, he looked bereft of ideas. His expansive passes were off target, hampering United’s attack. Pogba’s post-halftime improvement only highlighted how poor he’d been before. Pogba nearly had the game’s highlight moment. VERDICT Pogba nearly had the game’s best moment, with the second-half shot that hit the post before harmlessly bouncing off of Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny’s head a truly stunning strike. That was one of a few bright moments in the second half, as he and United got on the ball more. Often, he was a little deeper to start attacks before joining the attack – ironically, the sort of role he’s rebelled against previously. Now, if only he can replicate his second-half performances over a full game. RATING – 7/10 

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So close, but so far for Man United’s Paul Pogba against former team Juventus

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