Juventus v Porto preview: Paulo Dybala eyes 'special' goal
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/03/17 10:45pm
Paulo Dybala is targeting a special achievement when Juventus host Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday - scoring a goal past the distinguished Iker Casillas.
A quarter-final place is up for grabs in Turin, with the Old Lady holding a handy 2-0 lead from the first leg in Portugal.
But as well as helping his side into the last eight in Europe, 23-year-old Dybala has a personal motivation for the 90 minutes ahead.
He is no stranger to coming up against formidable goalkeepers, having shared a training ground with the great Gianluigi Buffon for the past 18 months and on Friday beat his heir apparent, Gianluigi Donnarumma, to seal an injury-time victory over AC Milan.
The Argentinian now has 13 for the season and hopes to add to that tally against former Real Madrid and Spain No 1 Casillas.
"Obviously I'd like to score against him," Dybala told O Jogo.
"My job is to score goals and to do so against a goalkeeper like him, with the maximum respect, would be special.
"Despite his age he is still a big player at Porto. His achievements as a goalkeeper are historic, everything he has managed to win at Real and the Spanish national team."
For his part, Casillas offered a tepid rallying cry to Porto's fans.
A Facebook post on his official account read: "We know we face a very hard task but in football anything can happen. We will look put in a good performance, try to win and see what happens."
However, their challenge remains formidable against a side who have become watertight on home soil, with boss Nuno Espirito Santo saying: "We cannot give up. This is in our education, this is how we are."
Juve sit eight points clear on top of Serie A following victory over Milan and two unanswered away goals puts them in a formidable position to progress against Porto, but Dybala is remaining level headed.
"The last win against Porto gives us some peace of mind because we have a good advantage, but the truth is that Porto are a good team and, in the first leg, they made life difficult for us until we scored," he said.
"Our away goals will be the key, so we'll have to be very careful at the back. In order to qualify we have to be very careful.
"We dream of winning the Champions League, but we'll have to pass through different traps: Porto is the next one."
Juve's Giorgio Chiellini missed the Serie A clash with AC Milan on Friday night due to a muscle injury, although manager Max Allegri is understood to be hopeful of having his Influential centre back available to face Porto.
Mario Mandzukic also did not feature due to illness, but while Alex Sandro was left on the substitutes' bench against the Rossoneri, the left back is set to start on Tuesday.
Porto finished the first leg with 10 men after Alex Telles' sending-off and the Brazilian defender will be suspended as a result for the return clash.
Meanwhile, Jesus Corona and Hector Herrera were both fit enough to travel, having been doubts for the game.
Juventus are unbeaten against Porto (W3 D1); having seen them off 0-2 in the 1st leg, they have also beaten them in the 1984 Cup Winners' Cup final (2-1), and recorded a win (3-1) and a draw (0-0) when they met in the 2001/02 Champions League first group stage
No team (13 previous instances) has ever progressed having lost the 1st leg of a Champions League knockout tie by a scoreline of 0-2 (at home)
Juventus hadn't topped their Champions League group since 2012/13 whilst Porto have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 7th time in their last 10 participations
However, Porto have made it past the round of 16 only once in their last six Champions League participations (2014/15), whilst Juventus have done it only once over the last 3 years (2014/15)
Juventus have avoided defeat in 10 of their last 11 Champions League knockout games at home (W6 D4)
Porto have only won once in their previous nine 2nd leg Champions League knockout matches to have taken place away from home (D2 L6); conceding 18 times across their last five such fixtures, replying with just three in their favour in that time
I think Porto will also be very scared of the counter-attack situations, with Paulo Dybala a particular a threat and full of confidence after extending Juventus remarkable perfect home record against AC Milan.
This should be a fairly comfortable, controlled performance from Juve, and I just can't see any way in which Porto can turn the tie around.
The draw is going to be key but Juve are one of the favourites for me and they could beat Barcelona or Bayern Munich if they come up against them.
Porto are up against odds of 14/1 to overturn their first-leg deficit in Turin, with Juventus just 7/10 to progress with another win. Allegri's men are currently 9/1 joint fifth favourites to win the Champions League, while their visitors are the joint longest-priced side left in the competition at 500/1. Gonzalo Higuain heads the first goalscorer betting at 3/1 followed by Paulo Dybala (9/2), while Francisco Soares and Andre Silva are considered the visitors' main threats at 7/1 apiece to net first.
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