UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Monaco lost to Juventus 0-2
Higuain converted Juve’s only two clear chances of the match to secure a 0-2 win for the Italian side at the Louis-II…
At a bouncing Stade Louis-II, Juventus set the early pace in this first leg. The Red & Whites began cautiously, but posed the first goal threat through a combination of Dirar and Mbappé, the Moroccan crossing for the young Frenchman, with Buffon standing in the way. The Italian legend rescued his side after Mbappé got ahead of Chiellini to direct a first-time effort on goal (16 mins). Buffon then showed firm hands to keep our a 19th minute header from Falcao, who beat Barzagli in the air to meet another cross from Dirar.
Juve take their chance
Juventus withstood the pressure and bided their time as they waited for their chance to come. And it duly arrived just before the half-hour mark from a textbook move, as Barzagli sent the ball upfield, Dybala laid the ball off beautifully in midfield for Alves to dart down the right, and Higuain finished with an unstoppable shot into the far corner (30 mins). The Argentine celebrated the opener with the Turin fans, while AS Monaco suddenly found themselves up against it. The Bianconneri went close again from Dybala’s well-placed free-kick in the 37th minute, Subasic making the save from the last real action of the first half. A first half with plenty of regrets, as is so often the case against Juve …
Higuain bags a brace
The Red & Whites had a chance to equalise just after half-time. Silva played in Falcao in the box and the Monegasque skipper positioned himself for the shot, but failed to get enough behind his side-footed effort to trouble Buffon (46 mins). Moments later, the Italian ‘keeper came flying out of his goal at supersonic speed to make the save at the feet of Mbappé (48 mins), before confidently dealing with Silva’s drilled effort from 25 yards (49 mins). And when it wasn’t Buffon thwarting the home side, it was Chiellini brilliantly blocking Mbappé’s powerfully struck shot from the left side of the box (55 mins)! The first-half scenario was repeated almost exactly on the hour mark, when Juve doubled their lead from their first sight of goal. Same creator, same scorer. Alves claimed a second assist of the night, crossing from the right for Higuain to beat Glik to the ball and notch a crucial second from point blank range.
The Red & Whites muzzled
Leonardo Jardim then opted to make a double substitution, taking off Bakayoko and Lemar, and sending on Moutinho and Germain (67 mins). The Portuguese European champion looked to initiate a fightback with a long-range effort in the 74th minute, but his shot was well over the bar. A minute later, Fabinho got free and pulled the ball back for Falcao from the right wing, but the Colombian striker was unable to turn and get a shot away. As solid as ever, the Italians were giving nothing away, fouling at the right time and always wary of the counter. With the clock ticking into the final ten minutes, another Dirar cross flashed across the face of goal with nobody able to get a touch. Glik then found Falcao who went for an improbable effort with his back to goal, only winning a corner that came to nothing. Juventus played for time, showing all of their experience against a Monegasque side that had run out of ideas, and now have one foot in the final… the two sides meet again for the second leg in Turin in just under a week’s time…