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Porto overcame Juventus thanks to their intelligence, says coach

Porto overcame Juventus thanks to their intelligence, says coach

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Olympiacos v FC Porto - Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus, Greece - December 9, 2020 FC Porto coach Sergio Conceicao reacts REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis/File Photo

TURIN: Porto coach Sergio Conceicao said his side used their brains to get past Juventus in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 second leg after playing with 10 men for more than an hour in the 3-2 defeat after extra-time, which sent them through on away goals.

Conceicao was part of the last Porto side to win the Champions League in 2004 under Jose Mourinho and masterminded their most significant win in the competition since then.

Leading 2-1 from the first leg and then going a goal up on the night thanks to Sergio Oliveira's penalty, they held off a surge of attacks from Juve in the second half and extra-time after Mehdi Taremi was sent off in the 54th minute.

Federico Chiesa's double looked to have given Juve momentum for the extra period but Porto found another away goal with a free kick from Oliveira and survived the remaining minutes after Adrien Rabiot scored to level the tie 4-4 on aggregate.

The feat came 17 years to the day when Porto knocked out Manchester United and Mourinho announced himself to the world with his iconic celebration on the Old Trafford touchline.

"Sendings off have cost us before but we played with intelligence," Conceicao told reporters.

"You know you'll have to suffer when you face Juventus but even with 10 men we created opportunities to score, which demonstrates our ability and competitive nature."

Porto have reached the quarter-finals four times since their 2004 triumph but had not knocked out a team of the calibre of Juventus, Serie A winners for the last nine seasons and Champions League runners-up in 2015 and 2017.

The result was all the more surprising given Porto's domestic form, which has left them third in the Portuguese standings, 10 points adrift of leaders Sporting after 22 games.

"It is very difficult to explain. We have had ups and downs in the championship, but the team showed huge character," said midfielder Jesus Corona.

"The players stayed focused and when you do that it is much easier. We played with passion, fought until the end and showed the spirit you expect from Porto."

The only sour note was the knowledge they will be without Oliveira for the first leg of their quarter-final tie after he earned a booking, adding to the suspension of Taremi.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

Source: Reuters


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