Next week sees the second legs of the Champions League Round of 16 take place, and sees Juventus play host to FC Porto of Portugal. Juventus go into the game having lost two of their last five, including the Round of 16 first leg, which FC Porto won 2-1. Juventus are still in the tie thanks to a late goal from Federico Chiesa, but they will have to turn in a much better performance if they are to progress to the last eight. German betting experts sportwetten-test.org believe that Porto are the favourites to progress.
However, since their defeat at the Estádio Do Dragão on 17th February, Juventus’ form has picked up, and their last three league games have seen them take seven points from a possible nine thanks to 3-0 wins over Crotone and Spezia, and a 1-1 draw at Hellas Verona. And key to securing those points was Cristiano Ronaldo, who bagged four goals in those three fixtures.
Although he’s now 36-years old, Ronaldo is still central to Juventus’ hopes of ending the season on a high. So far this season, he’s scored 20 goals in 21 Serie A appearances, and 4 in 5 Champions League appearances. And it shouldn’t be forgotten that he’s the most experienced player around when it comes to the Champions League, and holds the record as the competition’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Some have taken potshots at Ronaldo this season, and some have suggested that he’s approaching the end of his days. However, he’s averaged close to a goal a game and that experience of his will be invaluable to his team, particularly in the big games. And the next big game for Juventus is that second leg with FC Porto next week.
Juventus will have gone into their tie expecting to beat FC Porto, and so the result in the first leg will have given them a bit of a jolt. That said, they will go into the return leg on Tuesday as favourites, and will be expecting to win, not that they should take anything for granted.
And if Juventus do prevail, they have every reason to feel bullish about their chances of progressing further. There may well be some big names still left in the competition, but Juventus can count themselves as one of those too.
Andrea Pirlo has enjoyed a good first season in charge of Juventus thus far. They currently sit in second place in Serie A and are through to the Coppa Italia final where they will face Atalanta. And they are still very much in the Champions League despite their 2-1 defeat in Portugal last month.
Can Juventus still progress in the Champions League? Their form and reputation would suggest so.