Sport

Inspired Alves leads Juventus into Champions League final

Inspired Alves leads Juventus into Champions League final

Beating PSG kept alive Nice's chances of leapfrogging the capital side and snatching automatic Champions League qualification.

Kickoff! Monaco face a tall task against arguably the best defensive unit in the world, but they won a corner 30 seconds in.

At 39 years old, goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon will surely see Cardiff as his last chance to get his hands on the trophy after playing in two losing finals and the World Cup victor will be a key figure next month.

The Ligue 1 leaders have scored in all but two of their 15 games in this season's competition, only drawing a blank in the first leg against Juve and the 3-0 defeat at Leverkusen when they had already qualified from the group stage.

Monaco started the game brightly and Kylian Mbappe saw a smart first-time volley hit the inside of the post, although the linesman's flag was raised for offside nonetheless. The veteran centre-back will play a crucial role in tonight's match.

Jardim hinted at his selection plans for the second leg, with a shift in tactics likely to deal with the attacking threat of Dani Alves, who provided assists for both of Higuain's goals in the opening match.

As well as tradition favouring the two-time winners, this current crop have some impressive records of their own that suggest the odds are firmly stacked against the unstoppable attack breaching the impregnable defence.

2351 hrs IST: Welcome to the coverage of the second leg of the Champions League semi-final between Juventus and Monaco.

While the coach says his players will not have to fight desperately for a victory, he knows any complacency on the pitch could still cost them a spot in the Champions League final.

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After failing to reach the last four of the Champions League from 2003-04 to 2013-14, Juventus have now made the semis for the second time in the past three seasons.

The Old Lady has lost four successive Champions League finals (the most recent coming against Barcelona in 2015) and there is no doubt that Italy's biggest and most successful club have become European football's great under-achievers.

Monaco have reached the Champions League semis for the fourth time after 1993/94, 1997/98 and 2003/04. The French duo has struggled recently, scoring only three goals between them in their last six games.

Subasic then did well to deny Mandzukic, who also sent a header wide shortly afterward as Juventus pushed for the goal which would effectively end the contest.

Last Saturday night, the Turin derby versus Torino was played.

Only two teams have ever won a knockout tie in the competition after losing at home in the first leg and, in both cases - Ajax Amsterdam against Panathinaikos in 1996 and Inter Milan against Bayern Munich in 2011 - they had only a one-goal deficit.

Monaco have a really hard task on their hands when they come up against Juventus and the fact that they have never won a game in Italy in seven attempts will make thing more hard for them.

Monaco have performed beyond all expectations in this season's Champions League and eliminated some mighty opponents to make it to the semifinals, but their chances of repeating such heroics next year depend on the club's ability to hold onto their array of star players this summer. The first meeting in the Champions League semifinals, for Monaco started quite well.


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