Lacklustre Juve handed Porto victory: Pirlo; Dortmund win - GulfToday

Lacklustre Juve handed Porto victory: Pirlo; Dortmund win


Dortmund’s Erling Haaland (right) vies for the ball with Sevilla’s Jules Kounde during their Champions League match on Wednesday. Associated Press

Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game for Juventus in his native Portugal ended in 2-1 defeat as FC Porto out-played the Italians for much of Wednesday’s Champions League last-16, first leg tie.

Such was Juve’s lacklustre performance that coach Andrea Pirlo claimed his team handed victory to their hosts on “a silver platter”.

Iranian striker Mehdi Taremi put Porto ahead after just a minute at Estadio do Dragao following a Rodrigo Bentancur error.

And Mali striker Moussa Marega added a second straight after the break.

But Federico Chiesa pulled a goal back with eight minutes to go to keep Juventus afloat with the second leg in Turin on March 9.

“The approach was wrong from the first minute,” said Pirlo.

“When you concede a goal like this it’s normal that fear sets in, you lack a bit of certainty.

“Porto are good at closing down and after that goal it was much more difficult. We served them the match they wanted on a silver platter.

It was a below-par performance by Juventus,chasing their third Champions League title and first in 25 years.

Record Champions League goal scorer Ronaldo, 36, drew a blank against a side captained by his Portuguese international teammate Pepe, as the visitors struggled to recover from their early blunder.

It was a shocking start for Juventus, with Wojciech Szczesny sending the ball out to Bentancur, who passed back to the Polish goalkeeper despite Taremi being just on front of goal. The Iranian quickly pounced to prod past Szczesny for his first Champions League goal.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland scored twice as Borussia Dortmund ended Sevilla’s nine-game winning streak with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory in the first leg of their round of 16 of the Champions League match.

The hosts took the lead early through Suso Fernández but Dortmund rallied with a goal by Mahmoud Dahoud and Haaland’s double before halftime at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium. Luuk de Jong scored Sevilla’s late second goal to improve the Spanish team’s chances in the return leg.

“The first half, outside of the early goal, went exactly as we had envisioned it,” Dortmund captain Marco Reus said. “We sat a little deeper than normal but were very compact. We won the ball well, got it forward onto dangerous positions and took the lead. The first half was very good.”

The win ended Sevilla’s good run and put Dortmund back on track after a series of poor results that had left coach Edin Terzic under pressure in Germany.

The second leg will be on March 9 in Germany.

In the other round-of-16 match on Wednesday, Porto defeated Juventus 2-1 at home.

Suso opened the scoring for Sevilla in the seventh minute with a shot from outside the area that deflected off two defenders before finding the net. The visitors equalized when Dahoud fired a right-footed, long-range shot into the top corner in the 19th.

The 20-year-old Haaland put the visitors ahead in the 27th from inside the area after a nice give-and-go exchange of passes with Jadon Sancho, then added to the lead in the 43rd from close range after a fast breakaway for his 18th goal in 13 Champions League games.

The Norwegian forward only trails Kylian Mbappé as the player with most Champions League goals before his 21st birthday. The 22-year-old Mbappé, who scored a hat trick in Paris Saint-Germain’s 4-1 win at Barcelona on Tuesday, scored 19 goals before turning 21.

De Jong pulled Sevilla closer with a goal from a set piece in the 84th.

Dortmund traveled to Spain having won only one of its last six German league matches. It had lost its last four away matches in the round of 16 of the Champions League.

Sevilla’s last loss in all competitions had been a 2-0 defeat to Atlético Madrid in the Spanish league in January. It was coming off a league win against Huesca and a 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals.

Sevilla, the reigning Europa League champion, is playing in the Champions League for the first time since 2018, when it lost to Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals. Dortmund is playing in the round of 16 for the seventh time in eight seasons, but it last made it to the quarterfinals in 2017, when it lost to Monaco.


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