Juventus Top Perfomers – UCL Round of 16 vs Porto – First Leg

Despite the shocking start in each half where they literally gave away two goals amid a very lackadaisical performance, Juventus maintained their qualification hopes alive in the Porto clash thanks to a late push that culminated in a vital score by Federico Chiesa.

Chiesa: the Italian winger bagged it with an accurate strike, and who knows whether he intended to do that or if it was just a lucky bounce, but the trajectory ended up being just perfect considering the bodies in between. However, the whole action would have not been possible without a very clever cut down the flank by the Frenchman and an impeccable low-driven cross. He also produced the only other major chance for the Bianconeri, forcing the opposing goalie into a difficult save with an acrobatic kick. Differently from Rodrigo Bentancur, who just could not shake his dreadful early mistake, Rabiot managed to get something going in the passing game, although that area of the game left was extremely subpar with Arthur and Leonardo Bonucci both absent.

Chiesa had just a couple of flashes as Juventus had troubles finding the attackers and exploiting the width of the pitch all night long, but he did the most important thing. Weston McKennie moved around a lot trying to find the right spot but he could not quite make the right play when he got the ball and his form has decisively dipped over the last two weeks.

Alvaro Morata: while Cristiano Ronaldo and Dejan Kulusevski had a phantom-like displays as they were continuously shackled down by the opposing defenders and proved to lack chemistry, the Spaniard added some much-needed verticality and dynamism. The supply line to the forwards was hindered by the impressive diligence of the Dragoes, but some spaces did open up in the final minutes and Morata and Chiesa were the best at exploiting them. In a game like that, the starters should have tracked back more to initiate the offense.

Alex Sandro: simply a horrible performance by the back-line, not so much for the first goal, which came on a schoolboy and baffling error, but for the second one, as five defenders got attracted by the ball, leaving a big hole for a simple pass and  freebie. The fact that it happened 30 seconds after the break raises big questions about the focus and preparedness of the squad. The Brazilian left-back had his share of blame in that but, since Wojciech Szczesny ceded the nod with a potentially costly fumble late, he scoops it up merely for the long-ball that found Rabiot deep down the wing ahead of the goal.

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