A step too far for Monaco
AS Monaco's UEFA Champions League dream was ended by Juventus on Tuesday, a 2-1 second-leg defeat in Turin seeing the principality side lose their semi-final tie 4-1 on aggregate.
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
UEFA Champions League semi-final second leg
Juventus FC 2 - 1 AS Monaco
Juventus win 4-1 on aggregate
The size of the task facing Monaco was immense after their 2-0 defeat in the first leg at the Stade Louis II last week and they were thrown before kick-off at the Juventus Stadium by an injury to Nabil Dirar in the warm-up.
Coach Leonardo Jardim hastily sent on Benjamin Mendy to make his return from injury and Monaco started with a back three in the process. They began the game in a sprightly fashion and Kylian Mbappé struck the post inside five minutes after a João Moutinho shot was deflected into his path, although the offside flag had come up.
The home side saw Sami Khedira hobble off to be replaced by Claudio Marchisio with just 10 minutes on the clock but Juve quickly settled and Kamil Glik had to get back to clear when Gonzalo Higuaín tried a cute chip over Danijel Subasic.
The Croatian goalkeeper then did well to save from his compatriot Mario Mandzukic (25') but Juventus opened the scoring soon after. Dani Alves crossed to the back post for Mandzukic, and he responded quickly to convert the rebound after his initial header was saved by Subasic (33').
Higuaín had the ball in the net only for the offside flag to cut short the celebrations and a brilliant Giorgio Chiellini clearance prevented the lurking Radamel Falcao from getting a goal back before Juventus put the tie to bed when they scored again a minute from half-time. Subasic saved from Paulo Dybala but the Croatian goalkeeper chose to fist away the subsequent corner and the ball dropped for Alves, who volleyed home first-time from 20 yards.
Monaco were playing for pride in the second half and they did grab a consolation goal on 69 minutes, Moutinho setting up teen sensation Mbappé to prod home from inside the six-yard box, the goal Monaco's 150th of the season. Fabinho, Thomas Lemar and Valère Germain were all introduced from the bench but they could not get an equaliser on the night and they bow out of Europe.
Juventus go on to the final in Cardiff on June 3 while Monaco now have three games left to wrap up the Ligue 1 title.
THE PLAYER: Dani Alves
What can you say about the Brazilian right-back? He turned 34 last weekend, but he remains as influential as ever. He set up both goals for Higuaín in the first leg and again tormented Monaco here, crossing for Mandzukic for the opener and then smashing home the second, getting the goal he deserved for his performances over the two legs.
THE STAT: 12
Juventus have won all 12 two-legged tied against French opponents in Europe, including three now against Monaco. They are also unbeaten in 23 home games in Europe and 51 games at home in all competitions, the latter run dating back to August 2015.