Juventus defeated Monaco 2-1 in the second leg of their Champions League Semi-Final, thrashing their opponents 4-1 on aggregate to advance to the Cardiff final. Mandzukic and Alves scored for Juventus, while Mbappe got one back for his side.
Both teams created so many chances in the first half, but some great defending from Juve’s central duo Bonucci and Chiellini kept them in the match. On the other end of the pitch, Subasic made three superb saves to keep his team in the tie. However, the home side broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute through Mandzukic, who pounced upon a pinpoint cross from Dani Alves. His initial header was well saved by Subasic, but his rebound found the net. Dani Alves then scored a sumptuous volley just before half time to all but end Monaco’s run in the competition. The prior corner was thumped away by Subasic, but the ball fell to Alves who unleashed a rocket from outside the box.
The second half was just a countdown to the whistle, which would confirm Juve’s progress to the final, but Monaco still didn’t want to give up without a fight. They drilled shots onto the Juve defence, and got their reward in the 69th minute as they got one back through Mbappe. Moutinho made a good run following a corner and teed Mbappe up, who made no mistake from point blank range. The rest of the match was mostly about Monaco’s failed efforts and Juventus’ maintenance of possession, as Allegri’s men advanced to the final at the cost of Jardim’s men.
Here are the Talking Points from the Match-
Can Juve stop Real Madrid?
Juventus are now looking like favourites to lift the trophy, as they’ve shown their all-round acumen. And with Real almost in the final, can Juve be the team to stop them? Agreed- Madrid are on a different level than Monaco. But the way Juventus have played all season has actually made them the favourites to lift the title for the first time in 21 years, making many wonder if they’re the best team in the world right now. Whatever happens, we’ll surely be up for a cracking showcase Finale in Cardiff come June 3rd.
Monaco Can Take Heart from their Progress
Monaco have had a sensational rise in the world of football. Only five years back, a chap named Claudio Ranieri was made the manager of a team struggling in the second division of the French football. And with the Russian money and spectacular transfer work, they’ve managed a feat that their rivals PSG haven’t in 7 years now- reaching the Semi-Finals of the UCL. They’ve had a sensational couple of years, and with plenty of young stars on their books, the future looks bright. Mark my words, they’ll be back at this level next season.
Dani Alves is on Fire
Barcelona will be kicking themselves now, while Juventus will be grinning having pulled a masterclass of a transfer, and that too on a free! Even at the age of 34, Alves has shown no signs of slowing down. He was Juve’s best player at the Quarter Final leg at Camp Nou, and now their best player against Monaco, having assisted 3 goals and scored 1 out of the total 4. His assist for Mandzukic was world class, while his sublime volleyed goal was even better. He has shown that he can still go on at the top level for some more years, while Juve would be thankful to him and only God knows where they would’ve been without him this season.
A Tale of Two Contrasting Defences
While Juve have arguably the best defence in the world right now, Monaco’s biggest anomaly has been their defence. Chiellini and Bonucci were to thank for their superb form last night, and even though Buffon wasn’t at his usual best, they managed to restrict Monaco’s super attack. On the other hand, Monaco’s defence let their team down, especially Subasic, who had probably the best match of his career. He was the reason why Juve didn’t score four or five. And if Monaco are to stay at this level next year as well, they need to up their defence.
Mbappe is World Class
Even when his team had a poor outing, Kylian Mbappe was the lone shining spot. At the age of 18, he’s carried the entire Monaco side on his back on so many occasions. He broke Juve’s record of 690 minutes without conceding a goal in UCL with a fine effort, and has now scored the highest number of goals in the top five leagues in 2017, trailing only Messi. His confidence and skill has made him the target for world record bids this summer, and it’ll be a huge task for Monaco to retain their most prized possession.