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Buffon fears the draw

By March 15, 2017No Comments

Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is worried about the possibility of the Italian giants being drawn to play Leicester in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Both clubs reached the last eight on Tuesday night, with Buffon’s Serie A-leading Bianconeri moving past Porto 3-0 on aggregate while Leicester mounted a second-leg comeback to edge out Sevilla 3-2.

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are among the other heavyweights already through to the quarter-finals but veteran Italy keeper Buffon, now 39, wants to swerve last year’s surprise Premier League champions.

He said on juventus.com: “I would like to avoid Leicester City. They’re a dangerous side, there’s a feel-good factor around the place and they have the ability to hurt you if you take the game to them.

“You have everything to lose against them.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Juventus have never faced Leicester in a competitive game, but the Turin side have drawn English sides Fulham, Manchester City and Chelsea – twice – in the last decade.

Manchester City were hoping to join the mix as they aimed to build on a 5-3 first-leg victory over Monaco in the principality on Wednesday night.

The last-eight draw takes place on Friday.

Juventus protected their 2-0 advantage from a trip to Portugal, bolstering the margin of victory thanks to a Paulo Dybala penalty, scored after Maxi Pereira was dismissed for a foul in the box.

Buffon said: “Regardless of the first-leg result and the fact we had a man advantage too, we always stayed focused because if you switch off for even a moment you’re instantly made to pay.

“At the end of the second half, for example, Porto had three clear-cut goalscoring chances and that shows the level of the Champions League.

“We’ve made big strides, especially in terms of our self-belief. That was the target we set ourselves a few years ago, when we began our European journey.

“We wanted to be among the top eight and that’s our level. If you’re always in the mix with the best sides, sooner or later you end up winning the competition.”

Massimiliano Allegri’s men last contested the final in 2015, losing 3-1 to Barcelona in Berlin.