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Juventus vs. Monaco match preview: Time, TV schedule, and how to watch the Champions League semifinals

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AS Monaco v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

When Juventus advanced to the Champions League final two years ago, they were an underdog of sorts. There wasn’t a herd of folks picking them to make a run to the final in Berlin. Just think about how the season began for a second. The man who had brought Juve back to the best in Italy wasn’t there anymore. The spine of the club was still there, but there was plenty of uncertainty around the squad’s prospects in Europe.

This time around, things are different.

Even before Juventus got a 2-0 lead over Monaco, there was a cast of characters tipping them to make the Champions League final. And even before that, making a bunch of noise in Europe was the goal that both Max Allegri, the Juve management team and some of the club’s most important players had laid out entering the season.

Now, on May 9, Juventus stands just 90 minutes away from a second Champions League final in the last three seasons.

Two very different teams with very different rosters. But ultimately the same end goal.

Juventus are in this position thanks to a Gonzalo Higuain brace and another tactical masterpiece from Max Allegri in Monte Carlo six days ago. We were all quite hopeful after the semifinal draw that Juventus could come away with one of the two spots in this season’s Champions League final. And with the way this team is playing on the biggest of stages right now, they’re very much doing little to make us think otherwise.

Oh, and did I mention this game is in Turin, too?

Juventus has the ball in their court. They control their own destiny. Every cliché you can think of that sounds like those previous two sentences are pretty much applicable at this point. Juve has done what they needed to do in the first leg and they come back home not only with a two-goal lead in their back pocket — and away goals, at that — but the chance to celebrate with thousands of maniacal supporters at Juventus Stadium.

But that can’t happen if they don’t finish what they started.

Things in the group stage weren’t exactly easy. Juventus didn’t do things by the book. (Although, at this point, the difficult seems like the normal for them over the course of their first six Champions League games each season.) But now, as the games get more and more important, Juventus is answering the bell every single time.

They did it against Porto.

They did it against Barcelona.

And now, they’re so close to doing it against Monaco.

They know, if they advance, there next opponent will be from Madrid. The only way to get there is to take care of business on Tuesday night. That much and saying it is the simple part of the equation. Now, after long travels to Croatia, a few visits to Spain and a quick jaunt over to Portugal and then back, Juventus’ time to advance to the Champions League final is upon them.

As the social media campaign goes, “It’s time.” It’s time see Juventus being able to play for that big trophy once again. It’s time for a nice little trip to Cardiff on the first weekend of June. It’s time to visit Wales. It’s time to get Gigi Buffon back to the Champions League final and let him play for the one trophy that has eluded him all this time during his illustrious career for club and country.

Ninety more minutes to go, my friends. Just 90 more minutes...

GOOD NEWS

Last time I checked, Juventus enters Tuesday night’s second leg with a 2-0 lead on aggregate and both of those goals are away goals.

/.../

Yep, still true. That’s I think I would consider good news.

BAD NEWS

Last time I checked, Juventus enters Tuesday night’s second leg with a 2-0 lead on aggregate and both of those goals are away goals.

/.../

Yep, still true. That’s I think I would consider something as the complete opposite of bad news. Time to go find something else to dwell on, I guess. (Although it’s not really like there’s a reason to be upset about much surrounding Juve these days.)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

1) How do Juventus play it?

It’s the same thing we wondered as they went into the quarterfinals against Barcelona. And that was with a 3-0 lead heading into the second leg. This time, Juventus are at home — which is damn nice — but the room for error is not as plentiful against an attack-minded team like it was a few weeks ago. I get that the 2-0 lead consists of two valuable away goals, but like we’ve been saying ever since the first leg was over, Monaco is going to be looking to attack even more than they did in the first leg last week.

And we all know that they’ve shown

Good thing Juventus has defended as well as they have in the Champions League this season and racked up hundreds upon hundreds of consecutive minutes without allowing a goal, huh?

Yeah, I think so.

Juventus will be playing at home Tuesday night. Juventus will be playing in front of their hometown crowd Tuesday night. Juventus will be playing for the chance to go to the Champions League final Tuesday night. No matter how they go about it, no matter how it’s done, the opportunity is right there for the taking.

AS Monaco v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

2) Gonzalo Higuain and the monkey off his back.

You can make all the jokes you want about Higuain and his physique. That’s what the internet seems to — ahem — feed off of these days.

But what we know about Higuain now is something that we didn’t know seven days ago. That’s the fact about him finding the back of the net in the Champions League knockout rounds.

It’s been a point of emphasis to talk about Higuain’s big-game struggles over the years. It was a point of contention when the rumors about Juventus signing him came about. There was no way around it. It was basically talk about the club-record transfer fee, talk about the lack of production in big games and then combine the two into way there might be a chance the deal could be a bad one for Juventus.

Coming out of Wednesday night’s opening leg, there is no more pressure on Higuain. There’s no more thinking about what he hasn’t been able to in the Champions League knockout stages. He’s been great in Serie A this season. And just like what Paulo Dybala did against Barcelona, it’s Higuain’s goals that have put Juve on the cusp of advancing further on in Europe’s premier club competition.

So now Higuain enters Tuesday night’s second leg looking to build on his biggest and most important European performance to date. You get a player like Higuain going, it’s tough to stop. Give the man all of the goals. All of them.

Juventus FC v AC ChievoVerona - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

3) Juan Cuadrado or Andrea Barzagli?

At this point, it seems like the only squad selection dilemma that Allegri has on his hands is a decision between these two gentlemen. Dani Alves is going to be in the starting lineup, it’s just a matter of where. And it’s obviously dependent on who is chosen to play on the ring wing along with him.

Allegri going with Barzagli at right back won’t be a surprise to Monaco this time around like it was in the first leg. It’s an option now after it seemed like it wasn’t with everybody in the usual 4-2-3-1 available for selection last week. (Even though we’ve seen Barzagli playing there before.)

I would like to think that a lot of who Allegri ends up going with will tell us how he wants to play things. If it’s Barzagli, then Juve may be going on the defensive-oriented side of things. If it’s Cuadrado, then Juve may be going on the counterattacking side of things. At this point, we don’t know — and that’s especially true with one of the biggest reasons why Barzagli played, Sami Khedira, back from serving his one-game suspension.

Come an hour from kickoff, we will get our answer. No matter if it’s Barzagli or Cuadrado, there will be a plan. Allegri always has a plan. And when it comes to how this team has played in the knockout stages, Allegri’s plans have worked out quite well.

4) Can Juventus see this thing out and make the Champions League final?

Man, I sure as hell hope so. To get this far, to get two away goals and have a 2-0 lead coming back to play the second leg at a stadium where you haven’t lost in A LONG, LONG TIME, that would be crushing.

If there is ever a team set up to do what Juventus needs to do Tuesday night, it feels like it’s this one. They’ve done it against Porto. They’ve done it against Barcelona. And now, with the second leg in Turin, they need to do it against Monaco.

It’s time, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time, indeed.

AS Monaco v Juventus - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

MY STARTING XI

Juventus XI (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic; Dani Alves, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic; Gonzalo Higuain

MATCH INFO

Location: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy

Kick-off time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 a.m. on the West Coast

WATCH IT

TV: Fox Sports 1 USA, ESPN Deportes USA (United States); TSN1, TSN4, beIN SPORTS Canada (Canada); BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom); PremiumSport HD, Canale 5 (Italy)

Online/Mobile: Fox Soccer 2GO USA, Fox Sports GO, WatchESPN, fuboTV (United States); TSN GO, beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada, fuboTV Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); Premium Play (Italy)

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