Andrea Pirlo has accused his Juventus team of handing Porto the advantage “on a silver platter” after the Italians conceded an early goal in each half during a defeat in which Cristiano Ronaldo saw a late penalty appeal rejected.
Porto will take a slender 2-1 advantage to Italy for their Champions League last-16 second leg thanks to a second-minute goal from Mehdi Taremi and a strike from Moussa Marega just 19 seconds into the second half at the Estadio do Dragao.
Juventus gave themselves hope through a late goal from Federico Chiesa, although Ronaldo was furious when he had a last-minute penalty appeal turned down following a tangle with Zaidu Sanusi in the Porto box.
Despite Juve still being in the tie, manager Pirlo was angered by the sloppiness which led to his team handing Porto the advantage by not switching on at the start of either half.
“We’d prepared well for this game, it wasn’t the attitude we wanted, but conceding a goal in the opening minute when we handed it to them on a silver platter made everything more difficult,” Pirlo said.
“When you concede a goal after one minute, a strange one at that, it’s natural the players will lose confidence, especially against a side that knows how to clam up in defense.
“Our approach was wrong after we conceded the goal… We had planned on attacking the deeper spaces, but if you take too many touches, things get complicated. We weren’t smart, the ball was moved around too slowly.
“Porto got the game immediately on the track they wanted. With such a packed fixture list, it’s normal you can’t always maintain absolute focus and the right tempo, but it shouldn’t have happened in the round of 16 of the Champions League.”
Ronaldo appeared furious that his late penalty appeal was waved away by referee Carlos del Carro, with the VAR not intervening in the decision.
Pundits Ruud Gullit and Arsene Wenger both suggested that Ronaldo’s spot-kick claims were legitimate, and that the VAR should have stepped in.
The scenes capped a miserable night for the 36-year-old star as he returned to his homeland but failed to provide the spark that his team so often look to him for.
Juventus next host Crotone in Serie A on Monday as they bid to stay in contention near the top of the table, currently finding themselves fourth, eight points adrift of leaders Inter Milan but with a game in hand.
They then play three further Serie A games before hosting Porto on March 6 as they seek to overturn their first-leg deficit.