Fantastic result for Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus, who defeated the Portuguese giants Porto in their own backyard with two important away-goals scored by Marko Pjaca and Daniel Alves.
Nuno Espirito Santo decided to start with the former Real Madrid icon Iker Casillas in goal. Felipe and André Silva were also included in the starting eleven but risk being suspended if they picked a yellow card and miss the second leg of the Round of 16 in Turin
Porto | S-XI: Casillas (GK), Pereira, Marcano, R. Neves, Brahimi, A. Silva, H. Herrera (C), Danilo, Telles, Felipe, Soares. Substitutes: Sá, Layún, Boly, André André, Torres, Jota, Corona.
The Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri picked a quite expected starting eleven ahead of the start of the match. The iconic Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon started in goal and was the Juventus captain. Gonzalo Higuain and Pablo Dybala constituted the Juventus attacking force. Former FC Barcelona star Daniel Alves and Croatia international Marko Pjaca started on the bench.
Juventus | S-XI: Buffon (GK)(C), Lichtsteiner, Barzagli, Chiellini, Alex Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuain. Substitutes: Neto, Dani Alves, Asamoah, Benatia, Rugani, Marchisio, Pjaca.
Both, Porto and Juventus, opened the first half quite cautiously. As the first half progressed, Porto growed into the match and gained more confidence. Nuno Espirito Santo’s Porto looked more sharper in the attacks and counterattacks, particularly with the creativity of the Algerian international Yacine Brahimi. Nevertheless, Porto were also defensively disciplined and compact. The Italian champions Juventus dominated the possession of the ball and put a lot of pressure on Porto’s defence but they were sloppy in their finishings. In the 25th minute, Porto’s Alex Telles was booked by the German referee Felix Brych for a harsh challenge on a Juventus player. Two minutes later Alex Telles was sent off after receiving his second yellow card for a stupid challenge on Stephan Lichtsteiner, the Juventus right-back. Just before half-time, Juventus striker Pablo Dybala’s shot from outside Porto’s penalty-box hit the post. The first half of the first leg ended Porto 0, Juventus 0.
Juventus opened the second half by playing with more confidence controlling the possession of ball and the flow of the match. Porto tried to be creative in their counterattacks through the individual skills of Yacine Brahimi but they failed create a clear cut chance in the second half. Croatia international Marko Pjaca entered the pitch in the 67th minute, replacing Juan Cuadrado. Marko Pjaca made an instant impact by scoring the opening and vital away-goal for Juventus in the 72nd minute. The following minute, the former FC Barcelona right-back Daniel Alves entered the pitch, replacing Stephan Lichtsteiner. A minute later, Daniel Alves scored the winning goal after a brilliant assist Alex Sandro. Porto could not and had no more energy to fight back with ten men, the second half and match ended Porto 0, Juventus 2.
The match between Porto and Juventus was not one of the best and most entertaining matches in the first leg of the Round of 16 in this UEFA Champions League season.
Porto opened well, being sharper in their attacks and counterattacks while being defensively compact and disciplined but the red card on Alex Telles ruined everything for the hosts. Juventus were solid both in their attacks and defence throughout the whole match and two top class substitutes, Marko Pjaca and Daniel Alves, scored the goals.
Juventus will host Porto in the second leg of the Round of 16 of 2016/2017 UCL at Juventus Stadium in Turin on March 14.
Porto: Casillas – 3, Pereira – 3, Marcano – 3, R. Neves – 3, Brahimi – 3.5, A. Silva – 3, H. Herrera – 3, Danilo – 3, Telles – 2, Felipe – 3, Soares – 2.5. | Substitutes: Layun – 3, Corona – 3, Jota – 3.
Juventus: Buffon – 3.5, Lichtsteiner – 3, Barzagli – 3.5, Chiellini – 3.5, Alex Sandro – 3.5, Khedira – 3.5, Pjanic – 3, Cuadrado – 2, Dybala – 4.5, Mandzukic – 3, Higuain – 3.5. | Substitutes: Pjaca – 4, Dani Alves – 4, Marchisio – 3.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Pablo Dybala (Juventus)