Man United outclassed by Juventus, Gordon D’Arcy on the battle for rugby’s future direction

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Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the Old Trafford pitch after Juve’s 1-0 win over Manchester United. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the Old Trafford pitch after Juve’s 1-0 win over Manchester United. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Old Trafford after five years was a successful one last night, as Juventus beat Manchester United 1-0 in the Champions League. Paulo Dybala’s 17th minute goal was enough to give the Old Lady all three points and put them in control of Group H, on a sobering evening for José Mourinho’s outclassed side. Elsewhere Manchester City beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 away from home, while defending champions Real Madrid beat Viktoria Plzen 2-1 at the Bernabeu. Tonight Tottenham travel to play PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona take on Internazionale at the Nou Camp and Liverpool welcome Red Star Belgrade to Anfield.

In his column today Gordon D’Arcy suggests that, “we are in the midst of a battle for the future direction of rugby,” as the spectre of the 2019 Japan World Cup looms large. D’Arcy believes Danny Cipriani’s controversial red card during Gloucester’s 36-22 defeat to Munster last weekend opens a much needed debate over tackling, he writes: “What’s the actual problem World Rugby is trying to solve ahead of Japan 2019? The image of the game or safety of players? Probably both.” And he has sympathy for Cipriani after his latest high-profile blunder: “Cipriani wanted nothing to do with Rory Scannell’s charge yet his half-tackle earned him a red card. Was it a sending off? This season, yes. Last season, yellow card at most. In 2016, penalty or play on.”

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