PORTO, Portugal – Two substitutes, two goals, one clever coach.
Struggling to break through 10-man FC Porto in the Champions League Round-of-16 match, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri resorted to two second-half substitutes who quickly scored as the Italian champions won 2-0 Wednesday.
Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves broke through with goals in the 72nd and 74th minutes of the first leg to give Juventus a commanding advantage.
Porto had held out since Alex Telles was sent off in the 27th after two rash fouls.
Juventus hemmed Porto in its area and Pjaca scored five minutes after coming on.
Allegri then sent Alves on and he was even quicker in finding the net – two minutes after joining the game.
“We hit twice in quick succession when they got tired, exactly as Allegri told us to do,” said Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic. “He kept telling us to stay calm and serene and wait for the right moment because it would certainly arrive.”
Also Wednesday, Sevilla beat Leicester 2-1 in Spain with goals by Pablo Sarabia and Joaquin Correa in each half. Jamie Vardy struck late to give the English visitors a valuable away goal.
Porto’s Telles was sent off after the left back cut down Stephan Lichtsteiner, just two minutes after a yellow card for his studs-first tackle on Juan Cuadrado’s heel.
Porto manager Nuno Espirito Santo took off striker Andre Silva, who has scored five goals in the competition this season, and restructured his defense with Miguel Layun.
The visitors slowly but surely pressed Porto into its box before Paulo Dybala’s long strike smacked the base of the post in first-half injury time.
Hector Herrera mustered an off-target header in the 48th as Porto tried to change the flow of the match. But Juventus quickly restored its control and shots from Dybala and Sami Khedira followed.
Layun was at fault in Pjaca’s goal when he deflected Dybala’s pass to the Croatian midfielder inside the box.
Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas had made an earlier save to frustrate Gonzalo Higuain, but the Spaniard could do nothing to stop Alves when he received a cross from Alex Sandro at close range.
While the former Real Madrid `keeper had a busy night for the hosts, Casillas’ counterpart Gianluigi Buffon barely had to intervene at the Estadio do Dragao stadium. The two veteran `keepers embraced after the final whistle of their 17th career meeting.
“The tie is much more difficult now, but it is not over,” said Porto’s Espirito Santo.
Allegri was saying much the same.
“Porto defended in its half, but my players played well. They had patience and knew when to score in the right moment,” Allegri said. “In the Champions League no result is decisive. We will face the second leg as if this had finished 0-0.”
Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci missed the match as punishment for his outburst aimed at Allegri. Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini were both back after the defenders recovered from thigh injuries.
The second leg is in Turin on March 16.
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