Football

Khedira: Juventus can end 21-year wait

They last won the Champions League in 1996.

Midfielder Sami Khedira believes this could be the season that Juventus end their 21-year wait for a third European title after the Italian side beat Porto 2-0 away in their Champions League last-16, first-leg match yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves came off the bench to break 10-man Porto's resolve with two goals in three second-half minutes after the hosts had lost Alex Telles to a mindless first-half red card.

While Khedira maintains the tie is still alive, he said he had a "good feeling" about Juve's chances of winning a first European crown since 1996.

"Sometimes you have a feeling and, this year, I do have a very good feeling but, unfortunately, seven or eight other teams have the same feeling," the Germany midfielder told BT Sport. "We have to work, go forward with much concentration and I think we can reach it."

Serie A leaders Juventus transferred their rampant domestic form onto the European stage with a dominant display to end the Portuguese side's 20-game unbeaten home streak.

After seeing both Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala come close, Higuain notably denied on 39 minutes by an alert Iker Casillas, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri replaced Juan Cuadrado with Pjaca on 67 minutes.

The 21-year-old capitalised only six minutes later, starting a great move before firing past Casillas from 15 metres.

Substitute Alves, the former Barcelona star, then scored with practically his first touch of the game to wrap up a precious win for the Turin giants.

The victory was Juventus' fourth consecutive European away triumph.

Allegri, however, believes it is too early to write off their opponents.

"We can't believe 2-0 is enough to see us through. We have to approach the return as if it's still 0-0," he said of the second leg on March 14. 
- WIRE SERVICES

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