Prediction & odds for the game: Juventus (2/5) v Porto (13/2) – ST is backing the home win
When: Tuesday, 9th March @ 8pm K.O
Where: Juventus Stadium
Juventus will need to dig deep as they prepare to battle Porto in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie tomorrow night.
After dominating Serie A for so long whilst trying to focus on winning the European Cup, the Old Lady has now lost control of Italian football with the two Milan-based clubs taking over. Whether or not that’s just a momentary blip remains to be seen but as it stands, Juve are in all kinds of trouble. They’ll head into this game knowing they desperately need to pull a rabbit out of the bag, but thankfully for them, they’ve got a few impact players that thrive under pressure.
Back-to-back defeats against Napoli and Porto seemed to spur Juventus on throughout the remainder of February and into March. They beat Crotone, beat Spezia and beat Lazio, with the only other negative being a questionable draw against Verona.
They seem to be chasing shadows in the form of the unbeaten Sporting Lisbon in the Primeira Liga, but in the Champions League, Porto look as comfortable as they have done in a long time. We all know they are consistently strong performers at this level but to beat Juventus in the first leg was a whole other kind of statement. They didn’t let the occasion get to them and now, if they defend well and hit Juve on the counter, there’s every reason to believe they can progress.
Draws against Boavista, Braga and Sporting Lisbon haven’t helped Porto in their pursuit of the title but they certainly know how to grind out wins when it matters the most. They’ve done it to Juventus, Maritimo and Gil Vicente all in the space of just a few weeks.
We think this is going to be a game with relentless pace and a whole lot of attitude and drama – such is the nature of the UEFA Champions League. While we feel as if Porto have set themselves up brilliantly for the second leg we also expect Juve will do everything in their power to keep their season alive. Therefore, we’re backing the veterans to squeak out the win they need that’ll take them through to the quarter-finals on aggregate.
We’re backing Juventus to win 3-1 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate, ensuring we break the over 2.5 goals bracket. Given the track record of second legs with everything being on the line in the Champions League, we wouldn’t be shocked to see it come down to the final kick of the game – or perhaps even extra time.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 2/5 and the over 2.5 goals scored at odds of 8/11 (All odds are taken from bet365).
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