Last night, everyone witnessed a classic Champions League encounter between Juventus and Porto although the former found themselves on the receiving end. Juventus might have won the second leg 3-2 but Porto, despite being reduced to ten men, scored two crucial away goals courtesy of Sergio Oliveira to progress to the last eight and at the same time, shattering the Italian giant’s European dreams. Here are the five takeaways from the thrilling contest.
Juventus’ Champions League hoodoo continues
Ajax, Lyon and now Porto. Juventus’ Champions League debacle has continued for the third straight season. Not only the Bianconeri have failed to qualify past the quarter-finals on all three occasions, but also have suffered defeats against the minnows. Juve had the numbers advantage against Porto last night yet they failed to make the most of it, conceding a goal in the dying minutes of the extra time. Juve’s plans were clear after their big spending in the transfer market over the last two seasons as they wanted to get their hands at the long-evading Champions League title. Nonetheless, they continue to be underperformers in European competition.
Oliveira steals the show
Sergio Oliveira is the talk of the town after his heroics last night. The 28-year-old scored both the goals for Porto, first from the penalty, which was followed by a crucial free-kick goal in the second half of the extra time. Oliveira has been impressive in the Portuguese top-flight this season, racking up 10 goals and 4 assists while he has already five goals to his name in the Champions League.
Lacklustre Ronaldo and his costly mistake
Cristiano Ronaldo, the man who was expected to inspire a comeback against Porto was the one at the fault last night. Not only did he produce a lacklustre display but he was also at the fault for Porto’s crucial second goal in the extra time. The Portuguese ace’s careless defending in the wall against Porto’s free-kick proved costly as Oliveira was able to find the nets under the wall.
Pepe ageing like a fine wine
38 years old, yet Pepe put on a monstrous display against the Bianconeri and also his compatriot Ronaldo. The former Real Madrid defender once again showcased his combative and leadership skills, proving a menace to Juve’s attack. To be precise, Pepe won all of the aerial duels while making 18 clearances and 8 ball recoveries. Humongous.
Will Pirlo be the manager next season?
Andrea Pirlo would be already feeling the pressure after his plans to beat Porto going down the drain, let alone his plan to rest Ronaldo on Sunday so that the Portuguese can be fully fit for the last night’s game. Last season, Maurizio Sarri was sacked despite winning the Serie A title as Juve cited his failure in the European competitions and also for his predecessor Max Allegri. It remains to be seen whether Pirlo would suffer the same fate as their predecessors.