Juventus has life. Federico Chiesa’s late strike gave Juventus some hope after a dismal 2-1 defeat to FC Porto, conceding goals in the opening minute of each half.
The second leg of the Champions League Round of 16 ties will be in Turin on March 9.
The Bianconeri went into this game without Juan Cuadrado and Arthur Melo, while Paulo Dybala and Leonardo Bonucci weren’t fit either, so Alex Sandro and Danilo faced their former club with Dejan Kulusevski preferred to Alvaro Morata. Porto’s only absentee was Nanu and they reached the Round of 16 thanks to five consecutive Champions League clean sheets.
It was the worst possible start at the Estadio do Dragao, as Rodrigo Bentancur went to give a back-pass to Wojciech Szczesny, not realizing Mehdi Taremi was right behind him to intercept and slide in from six yards barely a minute into the game.
Federico Chiesa’s volley was charged down by Zaidu, but the problems playing out from the back persisted, Szczesny, giving it straight to Sergio Oliviera, whose shot was deflected by Matthijs De Ligt.
The night went from bad to worse, as Giorgio Chiellini went off with a calf problem after just 35 minutes, making way for Merih Demiral.
The new entry nodded a Bentancur free-kick straight at Agustin Marchesin, and the goalkeeper made his first genuine save on 41 minutes, palming away the Adrien Rabiot overhead kick. However, there was an offside position, so it wouldn’t have counted anyway.
Incredibly, Juve managed to concede a goal even earlier into the second half, as Wilson Manafá was allowed to run down the right and pull back for Moussa Marega, who fired past Szczesny at the near post when surrounded by defenders who didn’t close him down. It was only 19 seconds after the restart.
It should really have been 3-0, as Sergio Oliviera was allowed to run through the center undisturbed and force a one-handed save from Szczesny.
Alvaro Morata came on, but the offside flag was up already when Szczesny fingertipped a Corona overhead kick out from under the bar, while Bentancur and Danilo blasted over from distance.
Chiesa saw his deflected strike pushed away by Marchesin, while Morata had a pop from midfield when spotting the goalkeeper off his line.
Porto continued to have the best chances, a Marko Grujic header wide at the back post on a corner. Danilo was booked for a high foot and will be suspended for the second leg.
There was finally not just a real chance, but a goal, as Adrien Rabiot got down the left and pulled it back for Chiesa, who took it first time from 12 yards to steer into the bottom corner. It was a precious away goal and the first time Porto have conceded at home in the Champions League this season, ending their run of five consecutive clean sheets in the competition overall.
Morata forced a save moments later, although the offside flag was up on Ronaldo’s follow-up, with the feeling the Bianconeri had woken up far too late.
There was more controversy in the final minute of stoppages when Ronaldo went down under a clumsy Zaidu challenge, but the referee waved away penalty appeals and VAR did not intervene.