Juventus beats Porto 1-0 to reach Champions League quarters
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 15, 2017 11:19 AM
Porto's goalkeeper Iker Casillas, right, reacts after Juventus' Dani Alves, 2nd right, scored his side's second goal during the Champions League round of 16, first leg, soccer match between FC Porto and Juventus at the Dragao stadium in Porto, Portugal, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)
DANIELLA MATAR, Associated Press
TURIN, Italy (AP) — Paulo Dybala's penalty set Juventus on its way to a 1-0 win over 10-man Porto on Tuesday and a place in the Champions League quarterfinals.
A day after he said it was his "dream" to score past veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas, Dybala converted from the spot in the 42nd minute after Maxi Pereira was sent off for handling the ball on the goal line.
Massimiliano Allegri's side progressed from the Round of 16 with a 3-0 victory on aggregate and maintained its impressive record at the Juventus Stadium.
"I have to congratulate the lads for passing the round, as it wasn't easy," Allegri said. "We had a good first half, we controlled the ball well and didn't concede. Then once we went ahead, once they went a man down, we only half played the second period and we need to improve on that."
Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon said he was keen to avoid Leicester in the next round after the English champion beat Sevilla 2-0 in the night's other match to advance 3-2 on aggregate.
However, Allegri was unconcerned about Juve's prospective opponents.
"Who we draw, we'll play and goodnight," he said. "Anyway, we want to get to the end, so we have to play them all."
Once again, Porto was undone by a red card. Alex Telles was sent off in the first leg, when it still took Juventus until the 72nd minute to break the deadlock.
"Without doubt, the sending off in both matches affected us," Porto coach Nuno Espirito Santo said. "We didn't concede any goals when we had the same number of players, there remains the doubt whether we would have if we had remained in 11 in both matches.
"I knew it would be almost impossible to score three goals against Juventus with a player less. It would have been nice to get a goal, I think we deserved it ... and it would have been a just reward."
It was Casillas' 175th appearance in European competition, breaking the previous record held by former Italy and AC Milan defender Paolo Maldini.
Trailing 2-0 from the first leg, it was always going to be an uphill task for Porto against the five-time defending Serie A champion.
Especially as Juventus hadn't lost in Turin in the Champions League in nearly three years and was undefeated at home in all competition since August 2015.
Porto needed an early goal but had barely a sight on goal, with Francisco Soares' speculative effort being comfortably gathered by Buffon.
Mario Mandzukic had a header smothered by Casillas and sent another effort just past the left post before Juventus broke the deadlock four minutes from halftime.
Alex Sandro's header was parried by Casillas but only as far as Gonzalo Higuain and his effort from close range was stopped by the outstretched hand of Maxi Pereira, leading to an inevitable red card for the Porto defender.
Dybala stepped up and fired powerfully into the bottom right corner, sending Casillas the wrong way.
Juventus almost doubled its lead on the stroke of halftime but Juan Cuadrado blasted narrowly over the bar.
Despite the numerical advantage, Porto almost leveled shortly after the break, but Soares sent his shot past the right post when one on one with Buffon.
Dybala was given a standing ovation when he was substituted for Tomas Rincon with 12 minutes remaining.