Juan Mata: I knew I could score that free-kick against Juve

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 07: Juan Mata of Manchester United scores his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Juventus and Manchester United at Juventus Stadium on November 7, 2018 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Manchester United goal hero Juan Mata revealed he instantly had the confidence to take the free-kick which drew them back level with Juventus on Wednesday

The Red Devils fell a goal down in the 65th-minute following Cristiano Ronaldo’s sublime effort.

But United were awarded a free-kick after Paul Pogba was fouled on the edge of the box and substitute Mata immediately asked captain Ashley Young to step aside.

The Spanish midfielder’s countless hours of practice on the training ground then paid dividends by scoring the equalising goal with four minutes till full-time.

Then an Alex Sandro own goal gave United a stunning, yet somewhat unexpected, triumph in Turin.

“As soon as there was the free-kick in there, I had the confidence that I had to take it,” Mata told the club website.

“I told Ash, ‘Please let me take it, because I can go over the wall’.

“It’s very difficult for the goalkeeper because they don’t see a lot [with the wall so close].

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“So, I tried to do what I do in training a lot of times, practising, practising. It was important to score to make it 1-1 and, after, it led us to the 1-2.

“I think because of the venue and the importance of the game, it’s one of the best [that I’ve scored].”

United remain second in Group H, but they are now just two points adrift of leaders Juventus with another two games remaining.

Jose Mourinho’s side will next face local rivals Manchester derby at Etihad Stadium on Sunday in the Premier League.