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February 19, 2021

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Pirlo’s ‘clueless’ Juventus under fire after Porto flop

Andrea Pirlo’s Juventus was branded ‘clueless and devoid of ideas’ as its UEFA Champions League last 16 campaign stumbled midweek with a blundering 1-2 first-leg defeat at Porto.

Two quick-fire goals at the start of each half punished the Italian champion before Federico Chiesa rescued an away goal late with the second leg in Turin on March 9.

“Coming onto the pitch like that without focus is unacceptable, there was too much superficiality,” former Juventus coach Fabio Capello told Sky Sport.

“In the first half (Rodrigo) Bentancur’s huge mistake, in the second eight defenders were not careful against three Porto players. This cannot happen”.

For Juventus it was the fourth straight away game in the UCL last 16 which it failed to win.

Pirlo’s side had been hit by injuries, with Paulo Dybala, Leonardo Bonucci, Juan Cuadrado and Arthur all sidelined.

Captain Giorgio Chiellini was forced off with a muscular problem in the first half with Matthijs De Ligt ending the game limping, with Pirlo revealing that Alvaro Morata “felt faint” and had to lie down after the final whistle.

“When you concede a goal like that so early on, it knocks your confidence,” said Pirlo, in his first campaign as Juve coach. “The players let their heads drop and Porto were able to play the game that they wanted to play.

“We shouldn’t have played like that and it’s a shame. We could have done better.”

For Corriere Dello Sport it was Juventus’s “worst match of the season” blasting the Turin side as “distracted and superficial.”

Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo was described as “a ghost” on his return to Portugal.

“The Juventus team instinctively let itself be conditioned by Ronaldo’s performance.

“An unwatchable Juve, perhaps the worst of the season saved by Chiesa’s goal.”

Both sides are two-time European champs with Juve’s last title in 1996 and Porto’s in 2004.


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