Juve fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Porto in the first leg of the last-16 tie in the Champions League, due to quick-fire goals at the start of each half. The hosts opened the scoring after just 80 seconds through Mehdi Taremi and doubled their lead 20 seconds into the second half thanks to Moussa Marega. Federico Chiesa popped up with a potentially crucial away goal towards the end to keep Juve’s hopes alive, but the team will need to perform with far more intensity in the return leg. Here’s what the Bianconeri had to say at the end of the game at the Estádio do Dragão.
“Our approach changed after a minute because when you concede a goal like that so early on, it knocks your confidence. The players let their heads drop and Porto were able to play the game that they wanted to play, shutting up shop and playing on the counter. Fortunately, we managed to get back into the tie ahead of the second leg through Chiesa’s goal. We shouldn’t have played like that and it’s a shame. We could’ve done better. We had prepared for a different match. We wanted to attack the space in the behind with our forwards and our wingers and we needed to move the ball faster because they defended well, but they gave us space out wide. When you attack down the middle against 11 players behind the ball, everything becomes harder.”
“Our approach to the game wasn’t right and we faced an uphill battle from the start. As soon as your concentration level drops in the Champions League, you get punished and we fell behind in the opening seconds. We did score, however, which gives us strength and motivation ahead of the second leg. We’ll have to give everything at home, which will certainly be different in terms of the game and Juve’s performance.”
“We knew it would be a tough match and that Porto would prepare well for it, so we couldn’t afford to give them so many gifts. We have to change our approach because matches start in the first minute. It was harder to find space and put moves together after their goal.”
“Chiesa’s goal was important. We wanted to win, but it’s better to go back home with a 2-1 defeat and an away goal [than nothing] which must give us confidence for the second leg. We found it tough in the first half. They kept it tight and we weren’t patient enough to build up our attacks. We were defensively careless for both of their goals. Porto always do well against the top sides and we expected that. We’ll have to be more focused in the next game."
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