Today FC Porto is a club that was beaten in the European final and respected in Europe. But it wasn’t always like that. Like everyone else, she was one day a virgin on those hikes – and on that day, in the distant 1984, the Porto players stopped winning 500 Contos each, a make-up the club had promised in the event of a triumph the cup final of the cup winners. It was the fault of Juventus – and, as some say, the referee of that game – a team that FC Porto find 37 years later in the first leg of the Champions League knockout round.
This story from the past was told days ago in the PUBLIC as a preview of this game, so the focus is now on the present. And currently the “dragons” have to avenge the 500 lost stories and the trophy that remained in Basel in the 1980s.
To do this, they must be able to stop the “European dream” that has been in the hearts of Juventus fans for years and whose internal dominance in the continental prism has no parity. Nine consecutive championships later, the Turin team would like to swap internal successes for European successes – and it was not just because of the defeat in Italy that Cristiano Ronaldo signed in 2018.
Juventus is going through a painful spate of five Champions League finals lost since the last conquest in 1995/96, and it is in the hands of FC Porto to extend the “Via Crucis” of travelers for at least another year to the north Italy.
Despite facing a strong side and thirsting for a European victory, FC Porto may have one of the best chances they’ve ever had to beat Juventus in this game. The Turin started the season badly and then seemed to hold their own – defensively and offensively, Andrea Pirlo’s system stabilized – but in the last internal game, the defeat against Napoli, they showed a gray face again.
Juan Cuadrado’s early departure contributed to that lack of ideas and here is good news: the Colombian won’t face FC Porto in this first leg either. Juventus’ creativity has long run through the feet of the South American winger who has given the magic and intensity that Pirlo’s team lacked at the start of the season. At this point, Cuadrado already had 13 assists for the goal, six of them in the Champions League – leading the ranking.
In the game preview, Porto coach Sérgio Conceição devalued the Colombian’s absence, suggesting that he is likely to play against Chiesa, “who looks good in the end zones”.
The coach, who praised Cristiano Ronaldo, “the best in the world”, was still not very confident that the Italian side would end up doing badly after the poor performance against Napoli. “They’ve only conceded two goals in the last eight games. It’s a stable and solid team with players who know each other well and have their own mentality within the team and the club. Recently won “only” 3-0 against Barcelona, ”he recalled as a” warning to the navigation system “.
On the other hand, Andrea Pirlo did not board the ship of Italian preference either. The young Italian coach, suspicious of FC Porto, compared the Portuguese team to Atlético de Madrid to praise the defensive values of the opponent. “FC Porto are a team that defends well. It’s very compact in the Atlético de Madrid style with two rows of four, ”he praised.
Finally, it’s important to delve into the profile of the two teams and understand what patterns can be useful in analyzing the game. Juventus is the fifth most agile in the flying game of the champions’ 32 teams, a route that FC Porto will certainly have to explore and which is traditionally well prepared in offensive dead balls.
On the flip side, Juventus are the fifth team in the competition with the highest percentage of correct passes (87.6%) – which may justify FC Porto being careful with high blood pressure as it is not easy to steal the ball from it Italian.
There is also a curious fact that will provoke a duel of opposing forces: FC Porto is the second team of champions to get the highest percentage of shots in the so-called “small area” (12%, only surpassed by Real Madrid) . On the other hand, of the 32 teams, Juventus is the one that … allows fewer shots in its “small area”. Someone has to give in.