Substitutes Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves put Juventus on the brink of a Champions League quarter-final, as they came off the bench to score against Porto in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Porto, who played with 10 men from the 27th minute after Alex Telles was sent off, had defended manfully for 70 minutes, but two goals in three minutes look to have ended their hopes of making it through.
Juventus, unbeaten at home this season, take a two-goal advantage, and two away goals, back to Turin, and will now be heavy favourites.
He is one third of Itay’s renowned ‘BBC’ defence, and ahead of their Champions League tie with Porto, defender Leonardo Bonucci spoke to UEFA.com about how Antonio Conte improved him and why Massimiliano Allegri’s approach to coaching is different. Here are some of Bonucci’s comments:
On the appointment of Antonio Conte in 2011 …
Appointing Conte as manager opened up a lot of new ideas for myself and more experienced defender like [Andrea] Barzagli and [Giorgio] Chiellini.
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Bonucci On The Difference Between Allegri And Conte
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Marcello Lippi believes Serie A has improved thanks to “a change of mentality, a courageous attitude”.
Both Fiorentina and Roma won tricky Europa League ties away from home last week, and the former Inter and Juventus Coach believes it’s a sign of improvement.
“It’s not a coincidence, but the work of [Luciano] Spalletti and [Paulo] Sousa,” Lippi told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“They persuaded their players that they can play as well away from home as they can in Rome or Florence. There’s a change of mentality, a courageous attitude.
Gonzalo Higuain is confident Juventus “can win the Champions League” but “we have to be calm”. The striker joined the Serie A champions in a €90m move from Napoli over the summer, and says he can get his hands on Europe’s biggest prize.
“We can win the Champions League, but we have to be calm,” Higuain told La Stampa.
“Porto? It’s a beautiful stadium, a nice atmosphere, with a team which is always in the Champions League. They’re strong and cynical, in a sporting sense. We need to be careful.
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Higuain: “Signing For Juventus Was The Right Choice”
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The center of Italian football this summer will be Milan where Inter and AC Milan are set to go on unprecedented spending sprees as both clubs look to reclaim past glory.
Inter’s Chinese owners Suning have promised a transfer kitty of over €100m this summer to Stefano Pioli and Milan’s Chinese consortium, Sino-Europe Sports, have reportedly agreed to a transfer budget of over €130m.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Fininvest is expecting €420m to be put into the club in the takeover process by Sino-Europe Sports. Of that figure, €320m is to buy the club, with €200m already paid, so only a further €100m will go toward the actual takeover.
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Milan To Have Massive Transfer Budget This Summer
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Sevilla have completed the loan signing of striker Stevan Jovetic from Inter, and have the option to make the move permanent at the end of the season.
The La Liga club announced the signing on Tuesday afternoon, tweeting out a picture of Jovetic holding a Sevilla shirt with the No 16 on the back.
And speaking at his unveiling the 27-year-old revealed that he spoke to his former Manchester City team-mate Samir Nasri, who is currently on loan at the Andalusian outfit, about joining Jorge Sampaoli’s side.
‘Samir Nasri told me that Sevilla was a good club,’ said Jovetic at his press conference.
The FIFA Council has rubber-stamped plans to expand the World Cup in 2026 to 48 teams, adding 16 nations.
This is the first time since the 1998 World Cup that changes have been made to the makeup of the tournament, with the 2026 competition set to feature 16 groups of three.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s preferred option for change was for a 2026 competition featuring 16 groups of three, followed by a 32-team knockout, increasing the number of games from 64 to 80 but remaining inside a 32-day schedule.
According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Napoli are on the verge of announcing Dries Mertens has agreed terms to a new five-year deal that will keep him in Naples until 2021.
The 29-year-old Mertens has been in sublime form for Napoli in recents weeks and has really stepped up in the absence of Arkadiusz Milik, who is his way back from a serious knee injury.
The Belgium international has mainly been used as a substitute for Napoli since joining the club from PSV Eindhoven in 2013 but has already started nearly twice the amount of games this season (10) than he managed during the whole of the last campaign (6).
Serie A leaders Juventus have gotten even stronger with the news that Genoa’s Tomas Rincon will undergo a medical on Thursday after the Serie A champions struck up a deal to sign the midfielder. The deal is believed to be an initial six-month loan deal which Juventus will have an option to make permanent at the end of the season €7m.
The 28-year-old Rincon has been in fine form for Genoa and had been linked with several other Italian clubs including Inter.
But the lure of trophies and champions league football at Juventus won out and Rincon will compete for a place in the most competitive midfield group in Serie A.
The Lazio midfielder Senad Lulic has been banned by the Italian FA for 20 days and fined €10,000 for a racist insult towards the Roma defender Antonio Rüdiger following the heated Rome derby this month. As the ban coincides with Serie A’s winter break, Lulic will miss only one game, at home to Crotone on 8 January.
Yes. That you read that correct. For racially insulting a fellow professional, Senad Lulic has been given a one-match suspension.
The incident occured after the Rome derby when Lulic said Rüdiger was provoking Lazio players and that
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Lazio’s Senad Lulic Slap On Hand For Racist Insult
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