Who's the boss?! Allegri proved right for dropping Bonucci for Porto clash

Marko Pjaca Porto Juventus Champions League
Getty Images
The Juve coach axed his star centre-half for a crucial Champions League clash - but it was his changes that decided the first leg in his side's favour


On Tuesday, Juventus legend Roberto Boninsegna warned Massimiliano Allegri against dropping Leonardo Bonucci for the following evening's Champions League clash with Porto.

"It would be a big mistake to leave him out, an incredible own goal," the former Italy international argued.

Luckily, Massimiliano Allegri makes his own calls. Usually, they are the right ones. Nowhere was this better illustrated than at the Dragao, where the Old Lady took a massive step towards the quarter-finals with a commanding 2-0 win over a side that had not been beaten at home since April of last year.

Juventus subs punish Porto

True, just like at Sevilla in the group stage, Juve had been given a massive helping hand by an opponent, with Alex Telles stupidly getting himself sent off for two senseless tackles in the space of three first-half minutes.

It was a pivotal moment in the game. The hosts had started brightly but Alex Telles’ dismissal changed everything. Not only did it deprive Porto of their in-form full-back and their principal set-piece taker, it also forced Nuno Espirito Santo into removing his top goalscorer, Andre Silva, who had been causing problems with his pace and direct running.

Marko Pjaca Porto Juventus Champions League

In spite of this, Porto coped impressively with their numerical disadvantage, restricting Juve to hopeful efforts from outside the area (though the lively Paulo Dybala did strike the base of the post with a decent strike from distance just before the break), while at the same time offering a decent threat on the counter-attack.

Allegri, though, has not earned a reputation as one of the finest coaches in the game today for nothing - and it was he who decided the game in the visitors' favour with two shrewd substitutions.

Kessie's United dream is Juve's nightmare

With just a quarter of the game remaining, the former AC Milan boss replaced Juan Cuadrado with Marko Pjaca. Less than five minutes later, the Croatian winger scored his first Juve goal, finding the bottom right corner of the net with a sweet first-time strike from just inside the area.

Allegri reacted immediately to the deadlock being broken by withdrawing Stephan Lichtsteiner and sending Dani Alves on in his place.

Just 141 seconds after Pjaca's opener, the Brazilian put the result - and arguably the tie - beyond all doubt by controlling a cross to the back post from compatriot Alex Sandro before guiding the ball home.

Dani Alves Porto Juventus Champions League

Juve's players celebrated wildly on the field and Allegri rejoiced on the touchline but, high up in the hospitality boxes at the Dragao, Bonucci could be seen without a smile on his face, seemingly reluctant to join in as all of those around him jumped for joy.

He should have been on the pitch - and he knew it. However, he had been banished to the stands for attempting to tell Allegri how to do his job in last week’s Serie A win over Palermo.

Article continues below

On that occasion, Allegri had explicitly told his star centre-half exactly where to go, "Shut up, dickhead, focus on playing."

However, what unfolded in Portugal on Wednesday was an even better riposte. Bonucci, and indeed Boninsegna, both now know that when it comes to picking players and making changes, Allegri is the boss.

Massimiliano Allegri MOTM PS