Juventus 2-1 AS Monaco Match Report
Juventus reached their second Champions League final in three seasons after drubbing AS Monaco by 2-1 at home on Tuesday night to secure a 4-1 victory on aggregate.
Dani Alves delivered yet another outstanding performance to take “The Grand Old Lady” to the finals of the Champions League.
Juventus had the upper hand going into this second leg after thumping AS Monaco by 2-0 at Stade Louis II, courtesy of a Higuain brace.
Monaco did though come from two goals down following the first leg to beat Manchester City in the last 16 of this year’s Champions league, although they did go into the second leg having scored three away goals in the first. But Monaco’s task was made considerably harder by the fact that Juventus had lost just twice in all competitions in 2017, and were unbeaten in the Champions League this season.
Juventus made just one change from the team that beat Monaco at Stade Louis II – Sami Khedira returned from suspension to replace Claudio Marchisio in the midfield.
Monaco meanwhile made two changes from the side that were beaten last week at their home turf by Juventus – Joao Moutinho and Andrea Raggi came in for Fabinho and Thomas Lemar.
Monaco had a bright start as Joao Moutinho whipped in a cross from the left-hand side and Gianluigi Buffon failed to claim it having come off his line, but fortunately for Juventus the ball ran harmlessly out for a goal kick on the far side.
In the 5th minute Kylian Mbappe’s strike hit the foot of the post from a tight angle after the ball had fallen at his feet after Moutinho’s shot had been blocked, although the flag was up against the young striker so the goal would not have counted.
Juventus got their first chance to break forward into the Monaco half in the 9th minute when Sami Khedira played a neat ball into the Monaco penalty area for Mario Mandzukic to chase, but the Croatian couldn’t quite get on the end of it as Kamil Glik watched it roll out for a goal kick.
Khedira grasped his hamstring immediately after playing that pass and he wasn’t able to continue and as a result Claudio Marchisio was called to replace him – which meant that Juventus were back to the same 11 that started the first leg.
In the 19th minute Mbappe showed a lovely piece of skill to skip away from a couple of Juventus defenders midway through the Juventus half and he spreaded the ball wide to Mendy who whipped in a delightful cross towards Falcao in the middle, but Chiellini did superbly well to get across the striker and head the ball clear.
The first real chance to score in the match was crafted by the men in White and Black. In the 22nd minute Higuain showed a clean pair of heels to get clean through on goal inside the right-hand edge of the Monaco penalty area with only Danijel Subasic to beat, but his attempted chip was far too soft and although it beat the goalkeeper, Glik hacked it away from a couple of yards out behind him.
It was all Juventus after this and Monaco needed the best of Subasic to keep Juventus at bay. But the Croatian keeper couldn’t hold on to the pressure for a long time.
In the 25th minute Higuain played a neat reverse pass into Mandzukic who only had Subasic to beat from 15 yards out, but the Croatian keeper sticked out a strong left hand to keep out his international teammate’s poked effort.
The Grand Old Lady had another chance to break the deadlock in the 27th minute when Dani Alves went down the outside of the Monaco defence – down the right-hand side – and standed up a cross towards Mandzukic at the back post, but the forward could only head it back across goal and the ball simply went out for a goal kick.
Juventus had another chance to score in the very next minute when Dybala cut inside onto his left foot from the right-hand side and slipped the ball into Pjanic who bursted forward from midfield, but his low, first-time effort was well blocked by a sliding Andrea Raggi.
As mentioned earlier, Monaco’s defence couldn’t hold on to the pressure and they conceded in the 33rd minute. Juventus broke forward at pace from a Monaco corner with Sandro and Dybala involved down the left before Dani Alves got the ball at his feet on the right-hand corner of the penalty area, and the Brazilian sent a pin-perfect cross towards Mandzukic at the back post, and although his initial header was clawed out by Subasic, he reacted quickly to slot the rebound into the roof of the net.
Higuain almost sent all the home fans into tizzy when his strike met the back of the net in the 36th minute, but the goal was disallowed as it was offside. Juventus thought they had got a second as Dani Alves played an exquisite ball over the top of the Monaco defence and Higuain brought it down before rolling it past Subasic and into the corner, but the flag went up for offside against the striker.
Monaco’s system of playing three at the back was causing Juventus some problems going forward early on, with the wing backs able to get forward at will, but the back three were really struggling to cope with the movement of Higuain as they left Juventus with too much space in wide areas.
Monaco’s first real chance to score in the match came in the 42nd minute when Mendy went down the outside of Dani Alves and whipped a low cross across the face of goal, but Chiellini somehow opened his foot up and turned the ball wide of the post from just a couple of yards out from his own goal, with Falcao waiting to tap it in behind him.
Juventus doubled their lead just before the break when Subasic produced an excellent save to deny Dybala in an one-to-one condition but Juventus doubled their lead from the resultant corner as Subasic punched it clear bit it went straight to Dani Alves who hit a ferocious 25-yard volley past the keeper and into the back of the net to make it 2-0 for Juventus.
Juventus were happy to hold all the possession in the second half as they had a 3 goal cushion along with them but Monaco became relentless with each and every passing second.
However they got the reward for all their hardwork in the form of a goal when Mbappe striked in the 69th minute. Moutinho took a short corner and after getting the ball back into his feet he sent the ball into the penalty box from the left-hand side before firing a low cross towards the near post. Mbappe turned in from inches to poke the ball home from close range and bag a consolation goal for Monaco.
By the half time, the Bianconeri knew that they were in the finals and thus they slowed down the pace of the game. The goal was a result of their callousness and perhaps some sort of over-excitement.
There was a flashpoint when Higuain appeared to be stamped on by Glik as the striker made a sliding challenge, but no action was taken by the Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers.