Gonzalo Higuain scored a brace as Juventus recorded a 2-0 win over Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League Semi-Final tie.
Juventus came into the match as favourites, but it was the home side that dominated the match for the beginning few minutes. Mbappe spurned a couple of great chances within a period of just three minutes, as he shot straight at Buffon one-on-one. As the match went on, Juventus became more and more focused, defending flawlessly as usual. They broke the deadlock in the 28th minute through Higuain, who finished off a sumptuous move. Dybala’s beautiful flick began the move, Higuain sent Alves away with a through ball, who then completed a splendid backheel pass to Higuain who smashed the ball past Subasic with a first touch.
Monaco began the second half with a lot of zest and desire, but the opposition players were fairly determined to protect their away lead. The home side missed a couple of good chances through Falcao and Bakayoko, and looked like getting one back, but Juventus then stole another goal on the counter. Bakayoko was dispossessed by Dybala in the midfield who began the move. The ball eventually reached Alves, who made a sublime cross for Higuain who then thrashed the ball into the net again. The Argentinian striker, who had only netted twice in his last 24 knockout games in this competition, banished his reputation as a big-game bottler by scoring the same amount in a single game. Monaco missed some great chances through Falcao, Germain and Moutinho, failing to make a comeback before the return leg in Turin.
With this win, Juventus are now favourites to advance to the Cardiff final on June 3, particularly because they have a superb record at home, having not lost in their last 49 games at their fortress.
Here are the Talking Points from the Match-
Higuain Proves his Worth
Higuain has unarguably scored his most important goals for the Old Lady following his £75m move in the summer. Even though he has scored a reasonable tally of 31, he certainly was a target of critics, until tonight. He is known for failing to turn up in big games, but has substantially improved his reputation with a single match. If Juventus reach the final, which they almost certainly will, Higuain will be the one to thank as he came home with two crucial away goals for his side.
Dani Alves Shows Barça Exactly What They’ve Missed
It is still a mystery as to why Barça sold their star right back, who has been consistently showing that form is temporary but class is permanent. He started in the midfield tonight, and therefore had full liberty in attack. He had an exceptional game as he bagged two assists- One from an audacious back heel while the other from a sensational cross.
He was equally superb against his former club in the last round as well, and since Barça haven’t had the best of luck in the right back position after he left, they would surely be cursing themselves for letting the Brazilian leave in the first place.
Mbappe and Bernardo Silva- Youngsters Destined for Stardom?
Kylian Mbappe has had a prolific breakthrough season. Not only has he scored an unbelievable amount of goals, he’s also terrorised defences at the tender age of 18. He was Monaco’s most lively player tonight, creating chances out of nothing, showing exactly why the biggest clubs are encircling him even after a ridiculous tag of €100m was slapped on him.
Bernardo Silva, on the other hand, is a genius midfielder who has caught the eye with his sublime skills and dribbling. He was unlucky tonight for not being able to create anything much, but has surely shown again why he’s considered as one of the hottest young prospects in Europe.
The biggest task on Monaco’s hand this summer would be to keep hold of the two, if they want to successfully retain themselves on top positions in Europe next season.
Juve Defence Shuts Up Monaco Attack
Monaco has had by far the best attack in the top five leagues across Europe. They have scored a sensational 146 goals, averaging over 3 goals a match. Juventus, on the other hand, have had the meanest defence in Europe. The Old Lady has been unbeaten in UCL this season, and Juve haven’t conceded for 621 minutes in the competition.
This was always going to be a magical contest, as two supreme groups locked horns on the biggest stage. However, it wasn’t as close as a contest as expected, as Juve shut down their opponents on their home pitch. Their defence showed exactly why they’re considered the best in the world, as they easily kept out a burning attack of Falcao, Mbappe, Germain and Bernardo Silva. The Monaco attack needs to find a way to break open Juve’s defence, if they are to manage a comeback in the tie.