23 February 2017
Italian Champions, Juventus easily dispatched FC Porto by securing a 2 – 0 away win against the Portuguese Champions in their first leg, round of 16 Champions League clash on Wednesday night.
Two goals from substitutes, Marco Pjaca and Daniel Alves, in the second half ensured a vital away win for the Old Ladies and handed them an advantage ahead of the return fixture in Italy next month.
Porto were reduced to 10 men in the 27th minute following Alex Telles’ dismissal. The left back was sent off after two bookings; the first for tripping Juan Cuadrado on the halfway line and the second for a dangerous sliding tackle on Stephan Lichtsteiner 74 seconds later.
The Old Ladies dominated proceedings and went close severally in the first half through Miralem Pjanic and Gonzalo Higuain.
Argentine forward, Paulo Dybala could have given the visitors the lead before the interval but his 25-yard left foot drive rattled against the post.
Juventus continued their dominance after the break despite some frustrating efforts from the hosts as they were resolute despite being a man down.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri made a change in the 67th minute with Marko Pjaca coming on for Juan Cuadrado. The change was a masterstroke as it took Pjaca only five minutes to put the Serie-A Champions ahead.
Former Barcelona defender, Daniel Alves came on for Stephan Lichtsteiner in the 73rd minute and it took him less time to double the advantage.
Alves calmly finished off Alex Sandro’s cross from the left wing to register his first goal for Juventus and seal a win in Portugal.
With the win, Juventus have now won 13 of their last 15 games and Porto face an uphill battle to overturn the two-goal deficit in Turin, where the home side are unbeaten since August 2015.
Elsewhere on Wednesday night, Premier League Champion, Leicester City suffered their second Champions League defeat in history following a 2 – 1 loss to Sevilla in the first leg, round of 16 Champions League tie.
The foxes were two goals down before England forward, Jamie Vardy gave them an away goal, a lifeline to keep hopes of reaching the last eight of the Champions League despite the narrow first-leg defeat.
The hosts set the ball rolling immediately after kickoff and almost took the lead six minutes into the game when Leicester’s defender, Christian Fuchs nearly scored an own goal with a headed back-pass.
Sevilla also missed a chance to take the lead from the spot after Captain, Wes Morgan brought down Mariano inside the box. Joaquín Correa’s penalty kick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel who went the right way.
The host finally took the lead on 25 minute through a fine header by Pablo Sarabia and doubled the lead two minutes after the hour mark through Correa who had initially missed a spot kick.
A clearly unmarked Correa lashed home high into the net past Schmeichel to double Sevilla’s advantage after Stefan Jovetic had dragged away two Leicester defenders, Morgan and Robert Huth.
The visitors got a lifeline in the 73rd minute through Jamie Vardy who got on the end of Danny Drinkwater’s low cross to make it 2 – 1. It was Vardy’s first goal since scoring a hat-trick against Manchester City in December.
It was also Vardy’s first shot on target in 380 minutes of action and the goal drought lasted for 758 minutes of action for Leicester in all competitions.
The win was Sevilla’s second against an English team in five Champions League clashes, their only win coming against Arsenal at home in November 2007.
Super Eagles duo of Ahmed Musa and Wilfred Ndidi were in action and it was Ndidi’s debut in the Champions League for the Foxes. While Ndidi was on for 90 minutes, Musa was replaced by Demarai Gray in the 58th minute.
Leicester will be hoping to turn things around in the second leg tie at the King Power Next Month.
Author: Timilehin Boyinde
Oluwatimilehin Boyinde is a research writer and a social media strategist. A public affairs analyst, he writes about history, politics, sports, life matters and technology. He is passionate about happenings in Local and international political arenas. He is an avid Manchester United fan and an unapologetic Nigerian.