Juventus breeze past Monaco and into Champions League final
Juventus have made it to the Champions League final in Cardiff following a 4-1. aggregate win over Monaco – 2-1 on the night in Turin.
Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring at the Juventus Stadium 33 minuted in, before man of the tie, Dani Alves, doubled the lead with a thunderous volley just before the break. Kylian Mbappe did pull one back midway through the second period to end Juve’s 690 minute run without conceding in the Champions League.
The Bianconeri will face either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid, who face off in the second leg of their semi-final on Wednesday, with Los Blancos holding a 3-0 lead over their city rivals.
Juventus will contest their ninth Champions League/European Cup final, their second in three years, after being beaten by Barcelona in 2015, having only won the trophy on two of those occasions – 1986 and 1996.
Monaco started well, pressing their opponents as they tried to find a way back into the tie, but the home side weathered the storm well and slowly worked their way into the match.
The first real chance for Juventus came to Gonzalo Higuain who got in behind the Monaco defence, but his chipped effort was cleared, though it was going wide.
Next up an Andrea Raggi was on hand to block a Mirlem Pjanic shot which looked destined for the net.
Dani Alves, who made both Juve’s goals in the first leg, was again instrumental in the first goal. Playing a brilliant cross to the back post for Mandzukic whose initial header was saved by Danijel Subasic, but he was alert enough to poke home the rebound.
Mandzukic played a 60-yard ball over the top for Higuain who got his shot off from just inside the penalty area, but it was saved by Subasic.
It could and should have been number two for Juve as Dani Alves playing Paulo Dybala in, but Subasic stood tall and the Argentine could only blast into the goalkeeper.
However, moments later, from the resulting corner, Dani Alves got his name on the scoresheet with a wonderful volley from the edge of the area which sailed into the Monaco net.
As a content the game was over going into the second half, though substitute Juan Cuadrado wad causing Benjamin Mendy a plethora of issues on the right side.
The Monaco fans did have a goal to cheer as Mbappe got on the end of a low cross, 20 minuted from time, to fire in from close range to the youngest player in history to score in a Champions League semi-final at 18 years and 140 days old.
– Juve will become one of the teams that, since 1992, have made it to most Champions League finals (6, like AC Milan and Real Madrid if Wednesday goes to plan).
– Juventus have made 9 finals in the Champions League/European Cup, less than only Real Madrid, Milan and Bayern Munich.
– Juventus have made in the final conceding just three goals in this season’s Champions League – the last team to do better was Arsenal in 2005/06 with two conceded.
– Juve didn’t concede for 690 minutes in this year’s Champions League – a record for an Italian team but less than Arsenal (995 minutes).
– For the first time in Juventus’ history they have been unbeaten in 12 games in Champions League (9W, 3D)
– Juventus are the first Italian team to play 250 matches in the European Cup/Champions League (including preliminaries).
– Dani Alves has been involved in 7 goals in this season’s Champions League (3 goals + 4 assists), more than any other defender.
– Juve had never won 9 games in a single Champions League season before tonight.