Alex Telles essentially ended the first leg for Porto in the 27th minute after two needless yellow cards within two minutes (they wouldn’t manage a shot on target). Even so, it took Juve until the 72nd minute to break the deadlock through sub Marko Pjaca. Two minutes later, another sub, Dani Alves, set up the second goal. It would end 2-0 in Porto, giving FC Porto a big hill to climb away in Turin.
Over the weekend, Juve benefitted from another red card, and a questionable penalty, as they took on AC Milan. It was 1-1 entering stoppage time, as Italy’s legendary keeper, Gigi Buffon, faced off against their next great goalkeeping prospect, Gianluigi Donnarumma. But in the 97th minute, Juve were awarded a penalty for a (not) handball, which Dybala rocketed past Donnarumma. Meanwhile, Porto won with far less drama, cruising past Arouca 4-0 while resting Miguel Layun.
Tuesday in Turin will be a considerably tougher task for Porto - Juve haven’t lost at home in the Champions League since October 2013. But, red-hot striker Francisco Soares has scored nine in his first seven games, and provides the best chance for FC Porto to pull off an odds-defying upset.
Over the summer, Italian champions Juve robbed their biggest Serie A rivals of their best talent - taking the league’s top goalscorer, Gonzalo Higuain, away from second-place finishers Napoli and the most productive midfielder, Miralem Pjanic, from Roma, who finished third. With their domestic season looking comfortable, you’d expect Juventus to put their focus on winning the Champions League for the first time since 1996, with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte starting in midfield. While they’ll certainly miss the loss of Paul Pogba, they’ve reinforced enough over the summer that they are considered among the favorites to reach the final.
Porto are in the midst of an uncharacteristic trophyless drought, having not won anything for two seasons - the first time they’ve done so since 1981. They’ve brought in Valencia manager Nuno and kept hold of captain Hector Herrera and Algerian attacking midfielder Yacine Brahimi. There will be intense focus on winning a domestic trophy this season, but in a group that includes FC København, Club Brugge and Leicester City, there is no reason why they couldn’t simultaneously make progress in the Champions League. After a couple years in the wilderness, it could be a return to form for the Dragons.
Scored a Serie A-record 36 league goals for Napoli last season.
The heart and soul of Juve for over 15 years and 460+ appearances, even as they were relegated to Serie B following the Calciopoli betting scandal.