AS Monaco were beaten 2-1 at the Juventus Stadium but exit the competition with their heads held high after a wonderful Champions League campaign.
There was a atmosphere worthy of the great European nights at the Juventus Stadium for this UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg. Needing to produce an upset following their first leg defeat, AS Monaco made an excellent start, putting Juventus under pressure and hitting the post through Mbappé after Moutinho’s initial shot was blocked (5 mins). Moments later, Falcao had a go from 20 yards but sent his effort over the bar. After a tricky opening fifteen minutes, the Italian side created their first chance of the evening when Higuain darted into the box, but Glik got back to avert the danger (23 mins). Not for long, however. In the 25th minute, Mandzukic found himself one-on-one with Subasic who saved magnificently from his compatriot, before the Croatian striker sent a header wide (27 mins), while Raggi came from nowhere to deny Pjanic as he prepared to shoot (28 mins).
MANDZUKIC AND ALVES MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
The Italians were knocking on the door and found a way through from a crisp counter-attack in the 33rd minute. From a Monegasue corner, Buffon collected the ball and threw it out quickly. Alves ran into space on the right and crossed for Mandzukic at the far post. Subasic kept out the header, but the ball dropped nicely for the big striker to open the scoring from close range. AS Monaco looked to respond, and Mendy beat Alves down the left to drill a cross into the middle, but Chiellini got there just ahead of the lurking Falcao to deflect the ball behind (41 mins). Just before the break, Subasic made another save, this time from Dybala. From the ensuing corner, the initial Monegasque clearance fell to Alves who hammered a volley from the edge of the box that gave Subasic no chance. It was a hammer blow for AS Monaco right before the half-time whistle.
MBAPPÉ PULLS ONE BACK
The start of the second half was a difficult prospect against a side with their tails up. Despite an off-target shot from Moutinho (47 mins), AS Monaco were faced with a Turinese onslaught. Cuadrado, a fresh replacement for Dybala, skipped into the Monaco box, forcing Jemerson to track back superbly to get in a last-ditch block (55 mins). With the clock ticking past the hour mark, Silva and Moutinho combined down the right, with Silva looking for Falcao at the far post, but the Columbian skipper was unable to reach it. AS Monaco refused to throw in the towel, and Sidibé sent Mbappé running into space with a perfect ball in the 67th minute. The n°29 was well placed on the left of the box and opened up his body for the side-footed effort, but Buffon turned the shot behind for a corner. Moutinho and Silva played a one-two from the set piece, and the former surged along the byline to power in a low cross that Mbappé stabbed home from point blank range. AS Monaco were hanging in there looking for the equalizer and upping the pressure on the Italian defence.
Fabinho set himself to shoot from outside the area, but was unable to direct his effort on target (75 mins). Five minutes later, it was Moutinho’s turn to chance his arm from distance, but he enjoyed no more success than the Brazilian. With full-time approaching, Juventus played for time in expert fashion, with their fans already celebrating and looking forward to a trip to Cardiff for the final. A Pjanic free-kick was charged down by the Monaco wall (89 mins), and Lemar cleared Higuain’s cutback (90 mins). Raggi saw one last long-range effort deflected for a corner in the 90th minute, but it came to nothing and the final whistle was blown seconds later. AS Monaco’s incredible adventure in this season’s Champions League is over. Having begun in the third qualifying round back in July 2016, the Red & Whites have made it into Europe’s top four and will now look to clinch the French league title, as they prepare to host Lille at the Stade Louis-II on Sunday evening.