All Stories, Match Review Champions League

Juventus 1-0 FC Porto Champions League Review and Player Ratings

March 15, 2017

Player Ratings

Buffon – Yet again a spectator for much of the game. Was not at fault for the two chances presented to the opponents and made himself big on both occasions. 6

Bonucci – Great to have him back. Strong, careful and able to spray a few long balls forward smartly. 6.5

Benatia– Showing signs of quality but his rustiness or lack of composure in close quarters – I am yet to decide – almost proved costly when gifting Soares a one on one with Buffon which thankfully the striker put wide. I suspect Allegri is giving him games to fully analyse his value before sealing the deal for his signature and for now, his signing must surely remain in the balance. For he remains fifth choice in the CB pecking order by my reckoning. 6

Alves – Got forward to support the attack well with the central midfield congested and was pretty sound defensively other than a poor touch which forced Juan into a typically reckless foul, studs up. 6.5

Sandro – Given room to roam on the flank, but found it hard to pick out targets in the box due to the defensive blockade of our visitors. 6.5

Khedira – Rarely involved and kept fumbling the ball when finding himself in decent areas. 5.5

Marchisio – Moved the ball intelligently and offered a screen to the defence. 6.5

Cuadrado – Was lively though ineffective until his yellow, then more measured. 6

Dybala – Our busiest player, roaming between the flanks, constantly eager to make things happen and yet spurned a couple of chances with his right when he did find a way through the melee. However, he also put the penalty away superbly and displayed tenacity and top drawer distribution throughout. Extra marks for tracking back to make a superb tackle just outside our 18 yard to reclaim the ball. 7.5

Mandzukic – A couple of headed chances were foiled or misplaced, Mario battled hard and found the going tough. 6

Higuain – Not one of his best, for his touch was a little poor, misplacing passes and finding shooting positions extremely hard to come by. Great determination but lacking quality on the night. 6

Pjaca – The young Croat really has brilliant feet and a stunning turn of pace. He is not accustomed to facing so many well drilled defensive obstacles barring his way to goal, but managed to thread through some inviting passes and also went close with a smartly taken shot from his countryman’s flick on. 6.5

We were clearly aiming to control the game, show patience, with no need to force the issue and wait for chances to appear when they attacked. Yet as they decided not to attack with any sizeable numbers, we were left both before and especially after the sending off facing a very defensive system which we struggled to break down.

Still, on a brighter note, we managed to create 6 0r 7 presentable opportunities, none of which hit home.

The penalty was not in any way questionable, though I felt the red card was harsh whilst correct to the letter of the law.

Unfortunately, we allowed the opponents perhaps the two best chances of the game and were fortunate not to concede. A better side would have punished us, perhaps to the point of opening up the possibility of a reversal. We really must learn to control the game with more calmness and quality. And we cannot afford to learn on the job. Admittedly Porto were very cagey for both games, and on reflection we managed the tie well enough. Against stronger attacking talent we will likely find more space and prove more of an attacking force ourselves.

At no stage throughout the two legs did we look anything but likely victors. We ran few risks, and are one of a small handful of teams who passed through this round without conceding. A job well done.

It remains 31C here in Melbourne, at 9pm. My energy sapping away by the keystroke, lethargy becomes me, hence the brevity and absence of vigour of this report.

I can suggest that there are a few sides left in the tournament who we would rather avoid, sides who I believe are stronger than us who would be best met in a one-off. Bayern and Atletico appear the most complete. In saying that, I highly doubt there is any manager who is eagerly rubbing his paws and hoping to be matched with us in the quarter-finals. For we are stronger, as a squad, than we have been for many moons and this last two months has seen us not just recover most of our key players but improve drastically as a unit.

We will all admit that our form has been up and down until we changed formations upon leaving Florence. And it is bizarre and interesting to ponder this absence of consistency when I peek at our Champions League record this campaign and find the following-

Played 8

Won 6

Drawn 2

Scored 12

Conceded 2

That record is nothing short of exceptional, the beauty of which is that most of the games were played during a period in which we were far from our best.

We have the weapons and tenacity to win the tournament. Our glory or failure will come down to a combination of Allegri making the right choices at the right times, luck and determination.

Anything is possible, nothing is certain.

forza juve


(Follow me on twitter here)


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  • Gerald Quinn

    I am Dying to see a Juve V Atletico Madrid Match up!!! i am 100%
    positive we will come out on top and it will silence a lot of Spanish
    fan boys and haters!

    – If not Atletico, then hopefully we get
    Leacister City, And hopefully we Ridicule them with a (6+) – 0 score
    line and avenge Ranieri! those conniving snakes, nobody’s and scum of
    the sport deserve the WORST!

    – If none of those 2 then I at least
    hope we get Barca! to again silence the LaLiga worshipers and prove that
    Dybala > Messi, They are not to be feared, their win over PSG was
    pure luck! (Silly defensive errors)(horrible refereeing, 2 free
    penalties)(DiMaria failed 1v1)

    Bayern Munich!!!! IF… IF there is any team in the pool that can win
    us in the final or even knock us out before the final… IF there is any
    team that has a chance of doing that to us is in the pool… IT IS
    BAYERN!!! … its not that i dont think we can win, but looking at the
    teams i am realistic and realize it is nothing but a coin toss! plus
    revenge would be much sweeter if it is in the final

  • Michael McHugh

    Hi, I was just wondering the champions league quarter final in the 11/12 of April. does this mean our match with chievo will be moved which is on the 9th of April?

    • If we are at to play on the 12th I doubt it will be moved. I cannot see them moving the game, as we have a match every 3 days in the lead up. I doubt the FIGC will do us any favours…Or our fine friends in Naples who we face twice in that sequence.

  • Jaws

    We move forward, efficiently. I still can’t figure out the team’s real value. I hope Pipita is just saving goals for the final part of CL.

    • Same sensation here, Jaws…We have really not been seriously tested since changing formations and recovering most of the squad, yet it remains somewhat up in the air in terms of our progress along the path to making the best of our collective parts. We will know soon enough however, in the quarter finals of the CL and hopefully beyond.

      Despite the confidence and swagger and multitude of chances created in every game, we remain profligate and prone to brief bouts of carelessness.

  • Storm

    Great analysis,

    There is lot of talks about us saving energy or cruising the victory home, but still I am restless with the idea that we can’t be more efficient in front of the goal.

    Thinking of the greater picture, I applaud the idea of saving energy when possible due to the many important matches still to come. However, I really feel that we should be able to get a solid 2-0 or 3-0 in games like these. I might be my imagination, but to consider ourselves as a top European club (together with the 4-8 other giants) I would expect that we would kill other teams even when saving energy.

    This is my only worry for our future campaign, that the efficiency will be our Achilles heal

    • It is strange, Mr Storm, for our idea of ‘saving energy’ appears to be ‘many players simply switch off for 5-10 minutes’. Which is not, or should not be the same. Higuain and Dybala are indefatigable, they never stop running, and running hard. It was far worse before christmas, yet we remain a work in progress I believe.

      • Storm

        Agreed, to me saving energy should be playing clever, making the opposition run and then increase the efficiency, which can be less in hectic and hard fought games.

        But you have a point as we are a work in progress and I truly believe that next season we will see us improve on all fronts.

  • Dar Black

    Don’t care who we face next. Bayern, Real and Barca have all shown some domestic weaknesses this term. None are in top form. We will have to face at least two of the top sides if we are to win the CL. It doesn’t really matter when. If we wait for semi finals onwards then maybe they will be stronger and we have injuries. Let us get on with it! Fed up with fear of playing big clubs, we can compete with them now. We should not cower in fear of them.

    • For me, mate, its more important to win the damn trophy. For it is the one thing which will truly confirm us as back amongst the elite. We can focus on wanting to face the best of the best at every stage after holding the trophy…until which I would simply rather avoid Barca and BM as I believe that presents a tougher road to glory. The same glory, whether we face leicester and Monaco or RM and BM.

      Nothing to do with fear…I am more eager for the final than what comes before.

      • E.Micallef

        For me, mate, its more important to win the damn trophy. For it is the one thing which will truly confirm us as back amongst the elite. Thats what i want to hear. And yes mr Black we will have no fear. Come what may.

    • Storm

      I agree that we shouldn’t worry about the opponents as we must have enough self confidence to aim for the trophy. But still, playing fx. Bayern, then Barca, then a final vs Real would require much more resources than another route.

      Yes, every game will be tough, but like in any other knockout competition all that matters is that you can win the final game, as the opponent should be the strongest possible (unless you have already beaten a stronger opponent). Therefore I would prefer to avoid Bayern and Barca, although we could have good chances against both over to legs.

      • Dar Black

        Would Dortmund, Athletico or even an away tie at a hyped up Leicester City tie be easy – no. So we can say this group perhaps including Monaco and Leicester is very tough. So picking an easy route is just degrees of the same thing is it not? Basically, tough matches here on in, no escape from that. No easy pickings left now, but that works both ways. Nobody will want us in the draw.

        • Storm

          Different formulated, some teams will give us a different battle and something that suits us better. Take Atletico or Leicester who likes to sit back and hope for contra attacks, although it will be hard fought games these might prove “easier” for us than facing a high paced game vs Bayern or Barca.

          You are however right, with only 8 contesters left all games should be able to go either way.