Federico Chiesa gave Juventus hope in the Champions League as his late strike gifted them a crucial away goal in a 2-1 loss at Porto.
The Italian’s 82nd-minute strike ended an unwanted run for Juve’s forwards though, as he became the first player to score a goal in the Champions League’s knockout rounds other than Cristiano Ronaldo since the Portuguese’s 2018 arrival from Real Madrid.
The Italian champions turned in a forgettable performance on the night, and there were very few positives from Andrea Pirlo to take from their night’s work in Portugal.
Pirlo couldn’t have asked for a worse start, and Rodrigo Bentancur will be enduring sleepless nights for his part in Porto’s opener, which came after just 61 seconds.
Juventus looked to play the ball out from their own box, but it all went wrong as the Uruguayan’s carelessness was exposed by the hosts’ aggressive press. Inside his own box, Bentancur played a blind flicked pass towards Wojciech Szczesny, but Mehdi Taremi slid in to get there before the Pole and give the Portuguese side the lead.
Porto continued to press high, and La Vecchia Signora struggled to find a way to overcome it. They looked to implement a more direct approach, but Porto were equal to everything they had thrown at them.
Juventus’ night was epitomised as Dejan Kulusevski was clattered into by teammate Adrien Rabiot, and Porto then had another chance go wide after being presented with the opportunity due to a mistake by Szczesny.
As if things hadn’t gone badly enough for Pirlo, he was forced to withdraw Giorgio Chiellini with a calf problem with just over half an hour played.
Frustratingly for the Bianconeri, the second half started in the very same manner as the first, and the hosts were celebrating their second goal within a minute of the restart. A ball into the box from Wilson Manafa could Moussa Marega who, after taking a touch to set himself, beat Szczesny at his near post with an effort that the Juventus ‘keeper might have done more with.
Federico Chiesa pulled one back for Juve in the final ten minutes, finishing excellently on an Adrien Rabiot cutback to give his side a lifeline.
The ex-Fiorentina winger arrived to meet the ball on the bounce, and cushioned it onto the ground to send it bouncing back across into the corner from which the pass came.
March 9 will see the two sides do battle again, and Juventus have a fighting chance thanks to Chiesa’s late strike.