PRE MATCH: JUVENTUS VS PORTO

This is it. There is no tomorrow. Juventus trailing 2-1 in the Champions League knockout stage, has to win by more than 2 goals to advance to the Quarterfinals.


Needing to overturn a deficit in the last-16 for the second year in a row, the Bianconeri will look to overcome injury troubles and inconsistent form to dispatch their talented Iberian counterparts in Turin.


Partly due to rookie coach Andrea Pirlo's experimental and adaptable approach, Juventus are still searching for consistency, but have nonetheless conceded only six goals in their last thirteen games in all competitions - even in spite of an ongoing injury crisis in defense. Not only that, but Juve has won their last seven home matches in Serie A, scoring at least twice on each occasion.


In fact, all season long, Pirlo's men have proved a tough proposition at the Allianz Stadium, with ten wins and two draws from 13 league contests at their state-of-the-art base proving the best home record on the peninsula.

Currently on the coat-tails of the Milan clubs in Serie A , still with a game in hand, they are certainly live contenders for a 10th successive Scudetto, if from the unusual standpoint of underdogs Antonio Conte's rampant Inter.


With the Champions League trophy proving elusive for so long though, the often-criticized Pirlo would instead be lauded if his charges can take the next step towards continental glory on Tuesday night.


In deservedly winning the opening leg last month, Porto extended their European unbeaten streak to six, as they continue the club's 24th Champions League campaign - a total fewer than only Real Madrid and Barcelona (both 25).


Though they have once again shown themselves to be a potent attacking outfit this term, with 47 goals so far in the Portuguese top-flight - more than anyone else - the Dragons have drawn too many games for their ever-demanding fans' liking. Nonetheless, they remain unbeaten in 16 straight outings in the league, following a 2-0 win at struggling Gil Vicente at the weekend.


Porto was stunned by Braga in the second leg of their cup semi-final last Wednesday, losing 3-2 at home and 4-3 on aggregate, amid suggestions of mental burn-out from the media - swiftly rejected by their manager. A memorable run in the Champions League, though, would boost morale and compensate for a less than stellar domestic campaign.

Final Analysis:


For all their failings this season, Juventus have been characteristically formidable on home turf and can utilize all their experience and guile to surpass the stage they departed at last year.


If there is any defensive unit that can keep Porto's powerful front duo buttoned down, it would be the Bianconeri's, as they are specialists at shut-outs - seemingly no matter which personnel plays.


Final Prediction: Juventus 3-0 Porto




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