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Juventus 0 (1) - Monaco 0 (0): And then there were four

Juventus is back in the Champions League semifinals!

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Juventus soaked up pressure for long periods, and generally struggled to put passes together all night. But as 90 minutes came and went, the scoreline stayed the same. 0-0 (0-1 on aggregate), and Juventus are through to the Champions League semifinals.

The Old Lady made the trip south to the Stade Louis II aware, once again, that a clean sheet would mean progression to the Champions League semifinals and a place at football's top table. Massimiliano Allegri chose to send out his men in the tried-and-true 3-5-2, with Andrea Barzagli's return offering aerial reinforcement against a Monaco attack heavily reliant on crosses from the wings. Andrea Pirlo came back to the base of midfield, with Roberto Pereyra perhaps unfortunate to start this one from the bench.

Speaking after the game to describe his choices, Allegri revealed that Carlos Tévez was throwing up all day, Álvaro Morata got sick after the game, and Arturo Vidal was running a high fever. Thinking back on some of the missed passes it is perhaps not such a surprise that the midfield and attack resembled a hospital waiting room, but in the end it's goals that count, and Juventus got the job done.

Leonardo Jardim's men had to win, and the Portuguese trainer sent out a side featuring all three of his young attackers (Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, Anthony Martial, and Bernardo Silva). The Principality side were able to control possession and work the ball into wide areas with some consistency, but when it came time to put in a final ball Juventus' line of five defenders plus Gianluigi Buffon dealt with whatever came their way.

Monaco's front four tried to work their way through, but always seemed to lose the final 1-on-1 battle with their defender, and as the clock began to tick down and legs got heavier, there was not too much trouble as Juventus made plans for her 11th European Cup semifinal.


The match mostly started as predicted, with both sides happy to see a slow rhythm, but there was almost a hiccup in the very first minute. Giorgio Chiellini slipped on the edge of the box, giving the ball to João Moutinho, but the Juventus man stuck out a hand to stop play. He saw yellow, but it could have been much worse.

Bernardo Silva was causing some trouble down Juventus' left, first pulling back for Geoffrey Kondogbia to blast wide and then pulling off a quick 1-2 with Moutinho before fizzing a low ball across goal. Barzagli didn't know much about it and instinctively stuck out a toe, but fortunately the deflection went wide of Buffon's post.

Pirlo and Leonardo Bonucci were teeing up long balls for the attack, but Tévez was unable to get much on his header. Monaco eventually got a shot on target, as Kondogbia tried his luck from distance, but the shot was tame and straight at Buffon.

Pirlo tried to chip the ball over the defensive line for Stephan Lichtsteiner's runs, but Monaco were aware of the danger and the Maestro's passes were not quite good enough to find the small pockets of space.

Around 30 minutes, Monaco began to turn the screw and pin Juventus deep. Chiellini was lucky not to see a second yellow for coming in hard and late on Moutinho near the halfway line, and then his cheap giveaway gave Kondogbia a chance to get into the box, but Vidal and Big Giorgio were quick to pressure the young Frenchman and send him down in a heap. Nervous eyes went to the referee, but Willie Collum waved play on, with replays showing it was probably the right call.

Monaco had a cheap giveaway of their own, but Pirlo's chip didn't find anyone. In the 43rd Fabinho got forward and put in a tantalizing cross that evaded Barzagli, but Ferreira-Carrasco was under pressure from Lichtsteiner and could not find the target.

Two moments of madness from the Monaco defense nearly finished the tie, as they first gave the ball to Tévez and then Morata on the edge of the box, but Juventus were unable to get anything on target. Kondogbia and Pirlo may have swapped shirts at halftime, but everything was still to play for.

Leonardo Jardim made his attacking move at halftime, with Dimitar Berbatov coming on for midfielder Jérémy Toulalan. João Moutinho dropped deeper and Bernardo Silva came central, with Ferreira-Carrasco switching wings and Martial on Monaco's left.

Ferreira-Carrasco nearly made a quick impact in the second half, getting in a dangerous position on the corner of the box before slipping to the grass and then drawing a foul from Vidal. The free kick was cleared then put back into the box where Buffon missed his punch, only for Patrice Evra to react quicker than Aymen Abdennour in front of an open goal.

Juve threatened on the counter with Morata earning a yellow for Silva and Tévez teeing up Claudio Marchisio, but the shot went wide.

Martial tried to charge through and get a shot from a dangerous position, but Bonucci held his positioning and made a vital tackle. Vidal almost gave Berbatov an opportunity with an ill-advised backpass, but Buffon was quick off his line. Marchisio nearly ran through the Monaco defense, bamboozling Andrea Raggi, but Abdennour covered.

A trademark ball from Andrea Pirlo in the 57th found Morata with Tévez in a 2-on-1, but the attacker was indecisive and let the defender in. Berbatov's crafty runs up top offered a different option to Martial's more lateral movement, but the Juventus central defense was always there in the nick of time.

Fernando Llorente came on for a disappointing Morata, and was quickly involved with a run down the left. There were substitutions all around, with Valère Germain coming on for Martial and Pereyra for Vidal in the 77th.

There were yellow cards for Kondogbia and Tévez in the closing stages, with Ferreira-Carrasco trying one more time to do something on his own, but once again Bonucci was ready. A late free kick gave Monaco a final chance for a ball into the box but it came to nothing with Buffon punching clear.


Buffon: 6.5 Only had to deal with one tame effort on goal, but came for a lot of crosses. It nearly cost

Lichtsteiner: 6 Not as constant an attacking presence as in other games, but generally kept his flank secure.

Barzagli: 6.5 Juve's central defense was again the strength of the team. Since Barzagli's return to the team, Juve still haven't conceded with him on the pitch.

Bonucci: 7 His defensive positioning was top notch, aside from being strong in the air and frequently trying to spring the counter.

Chiellini: 6 Made his share of mistakes, and could have been sent off in the first half, but never gave up and contributed some vital tackles along the way to the clean sheet.

Evra: 6.5 Another reliable performance from Uncle Pat, who saved the day after Buffon missed his punch and left the goal open.

Marchisio: 6.5 Very active defensively and trying to run and link up with the forwards. Not his best game, but delivered a solid performance.

Pirlo: 6 Was not quite himself chipping balls over the back line, but hit a couple absolutely perfectly, plus hit the woodwork with a gorgeous free kick.

Vidal: 6 Did not link up with T'evez as well as in some recent weeks, but gave everything defensively. Not bad for a man with acute tonsillitis and a high fever.

Morata: 5.5 A disappointing game for the Spanish striker, who made good runs off the ball but let himself down on it.

Tévez: 6 Not a great game for the striker, who like those around him had a hard time getting involved.


Llorente: 6 Immediately offered a better option in hold up play, even running the channels a bit.

Pereyra: N/A A few late minutes, where he showed his pace and ability on the ball as Juventus ran down the clock.

Padoin: N/A Came on for ex-Monaco man Evra in stoppage time.


Allegri: 7 With the strikers physically ill and a 1-0 in the pocket from the first leg, he did about all he could today, and it was enough to see Juventus, once again, in the Champions League semifinals.