Allegri wants more from Juve in last eight

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring the winner from the spot against Porto with Leonardo Bonucci.
Juventus forward Paulo Dybala celebrates scoring the winner from the spot against Porto with Leonardo Bonucci.PHOTO: REUTERS

TURIN (Italy) • Scoring more goals and shoring up the defence will be key if Juventus are to avoid a Champions League quarter-final exit after cruising past Porto, said coach Massimiliano Allegri.

The Turin giants were impervious on Tuesday on their way to stretching their unbeaten run in European competitions to 21 games despite failing to build on their numerical superiority after Porto, as they did in the first leg, lost a man before the half-time interval.

Nuno Espirito Santo's visitors failed to pose any real threat, and any hope of an upset was ended on 40 minutes when Paulo Dybala drilled past Iker Casillas from the penalty spot after Maxi Pereira's expulsion for handball.

Juventus won 1-0 and cruised through 3-0 on aggregate, but Allegri was less than satisfied after the hosts failed to make their advantage pay in a listless second half that saw Gonzalo Higuain and Marko Pjaca fire wide of the target.

"In the Champions League we are scoring fewer goals on average than other sides with respect to the number of chances we create," said the Italian. "In defence, we also have to improve.

"In the second half, despite our numerical advantage, we did the opposite of what we did in Porto. In these situations you either up the rhythm and pressure and attack, or you sit back and pass the ball around till it gets boring for everybody. We didn't do either.

"We were very good in the first half, but less so in the second. Thankfully, we had our last eight ticket practically assured, but we'll have to work on this for the future."

Although Juventus remain on course for a third consecutive league and Cup double, their real focus this season is on making amends for a 3-1 final defeat by Barcelona in 2015.

And with Barcelona, 11-time champions Real Madrid and Bayern Munich all possible future opponents following tomorrow's quarter-final draw, Allegri has reason for concern.

Nuno, though, backed Juventus to go all the way.

"Allegri has done a great job, Juventus are one of the best sides in Europe. For me they're among the top four or five."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 16, 2017, with the headline 'Allegri wants more from Juve in last eight'. Print Edition | Subscribe