Juventus thumps shorthanded Porto 2-0

Lisbon, Feb 23 (IANS) Italian football giants Juventus took a step toward the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 away triumph against Porto, who played with 10 men for more than two-thirds of the match.

Despite the disadvantage, the hosts kept the Italian side off the scoreboard until the last 20 minutes, largely thanks to the solid goalkeeping of Iker Casillas on Wednesday, reports Efe.

Porto were the better team for the opening 10 minutes in front of nearly 50,000 at Estadio do Dragão, but the visiting squad gradually asserted their dominance.

The decisive sequence of the night took place in a span of 45 seconds, the time it took Porto’s Alex Telles to pick up successive yellow cards for a pair of flagrant and unnecessary fouls and get himself sent off in the 27th minute.

Juventus generated two chances in the closing minutes of the first half when Casillas made the stop against former Real Madrid teammate Higuain, before a hard shot from Dybala bounced off the post.

The visitors thought they had broken the ice when a strike by Dybala found the back of the Porto net early in the second half, but the goal was disallowed on a questionable offside call.

Juve, with all the possession, remained unable to crack the Porto defence as the game clock passed 70 minutes and coach Massimiliano Allegri decided to turn to his bench, tapping Dani Alves and Marko Pjaca, which worked in their favour.

Pjaca scored within seconds of coming on the pitch, putting away a loose ball after Dybala’s cross deflected off a defender. Barely a minute later, it was the turn of Alves, who chested down a cross from Alex Sandro and delivered a left-footed blast.

Trailing 0-2, it was all Porto could do to reach the final whistle without conceding a third away goal to the Italian side.