A team that has been their league’s champions for the past 5 consecutive seasons travelled to play against a team that had seen Champions League glory and have been crowned leafgue champions more than once and even this season have a pretty good chance of winning the league. It was Porto Vs Juventus.
Two of the best goalkeepers in the world who have shown more dedication to the sport than many were facing each other. It was Iker Casillas vs Gianluigi Buffon. The stage was set for a glimpse of the legends collision for may be the last time.
Porto : Casillas, Maxi Pereira, Felipe, Marcano, Alex Telles, Danilo, Herrera, Ruben Neves, Brahimi, Andre Silva & Soares
Juventus : Buffon, Lichtsteiner, Brazagli, Cheillini, Alex Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic & Higuain
A free-kick in the starting stages of the game saw Porto’s Brahimi have his go for goal but the shot went just wide but given the position and distance where the free-kick was awarded to Porto, you just cannot miss from there. That could have been one of the juiciest spot to get a free-kick and had that been converted may be Juventus would have struggled a little to get back into the game.
For Juventus who were trying to get a shot on target were also having a hard time as it was wide shots after wide shots after wide shots but they were relentless in their pursuit of that goal and that allowed them to accept some physical challenges by Porto and that saw Porto getting reduced to 10 men early in the game when Telles who was already booked at the start of the game, receive his second yellow and as a result his marching orders as well.
An argument that followed the departure of Telles forced the referee to not put the card back into his pocket but to instead raise the yellow card high above his head. In the 33nd minute Pjanic had a long range effort on goal saved by Casillas. Juventus played like Juventus and I think that Porto, after being reduced to 10 men had little option to go forward and risk exposing their defense to a Juventus counter-attack that might result in an away goal. So, Porto settled deep and defended while Juventus had more than a few chances at goal but they could not find the finesse in their attempt. The first half ended 0-0 and the start of the second half saw no huge change in the way how the game was played.
In the 46th minute, Dybala slotted the ball past Casillas after a great piece of football from Juventus but the flag was raised. A rare chance that saw Porto attack in the game saw the ball fly into Juventus’s penalty box but Herrera missed it. It really was a golden chance and when you are down to 10 men and playing a team like Juventus you just cannot afford to miss chances like that. In the 53rd minute another long range effort was saved by Casillas.
What really surprised me was the lack of finishing from Juventus. They had such great players like Higuain, Dybala, Mandzukic & Pjanic but there were so many wide shots and missed shots and long range shots that were mere practice for Casillas. Juventus could have broken the dead lock a long time ago had they had more composure in their attack. Their attacks were purposeful but it completely lacked patience.
But as it had happened time and time again to many teams, who simply cannot keep defending as their defense will be breached at one point of time. Porto’s resilient defense was broken by Marko Pjaca in the 72nd minute. This was not a because of a brilliant play by Juventus, this goal was a result of a mistake by Porto that had cost them and just before, the fans of Juventus could settle down from their celebration and before Porto supports could come out of their misery Juventus struck again through another substitute. The former Barcelona Full-back Dani Alves, scored the goal from near post in the 74th minute that all but confirmed that Porto were out of the completion this year.
There is no way for Porto to enter the reverse fixture and win the match with a large margin but I'm not saying that impossible. There is nothing wrong in being optimistic, after all miracles do happen. Especially in football.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.