Juventus have crashed out of the Champions League in a thriller against FC Porto.
The Old Lady were under serious pressure to end their hoodoo in Europe’s premier competition after two underwhelming exits in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo‘s high-profile arrival.
Considering the Real Madrid icon arrived in the hope of securing Juventus’ first Champions League title since 1996, eliminations against Ajax and Lyon proved to be hugely disappointing.
Tough start for Juventus
And fans of the Turin giants would be forgiven for thinking it was ‘third time unlucky’ when they once again stared Champions League humiliation in the face in the round of 16 this season.
Juventus came into their 2020/21 tie with FC Porto as comfortable favourites, but entered the second leg needing to overturn a 2-1 deficit after looking distinctly average in Portugal.
And their task wasn’t made any easier by a rapid start from the visitors at the Allianz Stadium, taking the lead in the 19th minute when Sérgio Oliveira cooly converted from the penalty spot.
Juventus rally in the second-half
Try as Juventus might, they couldn’t find a goal of their own in the opening 45 minutes, meaning they would have to score at least two unanswered strikes after the interval in Turin.
Naturally, with Ronaldo in their squad, Juve knew that anything was possible, but it was actually Federico Chiesa who thrust them back into the game with two fantastic finishes.
And sandwiched between his Juventus brace was one of the strangest Champions League red cards you’re ever likely to see with Porto’s Medhi Taremi sent packing in bizarre circumstances.
Extra time in Turin
The Iranian striker picked up his second yellow card of the night for booting the ball away after the referee’s whistle in an incident that will remind Arsenal fans of Robin van Persie in 2011.
However, Juventus couldn’t profit from the dismissal in the form of a third goal in regulation time as the offside flag and crossbar denied Alvaro Morata and Juan Cuadrado respectively late on.
As such, the game progressed into extra time with both Porto and Juventus having won their home ties 2-1, leaving the aggregate scores locked at 3-3 with equal away goals.
Dramatic extra-time Porto goal
Now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that an additional 30 minutes would do Juventus all the favours they needed against 10-man Porto but alas, it was the underdogs who struck late on in Italy.
Astonishingly, just when it looked as though the game was crawling towards a penalty shootout, Oliveira bagged his second of the night with a long-range free-kick to put Porto up on aggregate.
The ball looked to have gone through the legs of Ronaldo and despite Wojciech Szczesny getting a sizeable hand on the effort, he couldn’t prevent the daisy-cutter from rippling the net.
Immediate response from Juventus
However, and let me take a breath here for a second, that wasn’t the end of the goalscoring because Adrien Rabiot gave a glimmer of hope for the Italian champions by heading home in reply.
But with Porto having two away goals to their name compared to the one of Juventus, they needed another strike to avoid more European humiliation and there was hardly any time left to play.
And despite Ronaldo proving the king when it comes to Champions League comebacks, even the competition’s greatest ever player couldn’t muster a turnaround in the dying embers of the tie.
As a result, Andrea Pirlo’s men were consigned to yet more continential misery as their shock Porto exit shuffled alongside the Ajax and Lyon defeats in their own ‘Hall of Shame’.
Ah well, there’s always next year…