Juventus became the first team to book their spot in the UEFA Champions League final, beating AS Monaco 2-1 on Tuesday at Juventus Stadium. The aggregate score for the tie was 4-1 after the Old Lady’s win in France.
The hosts dominated the first half after a bright start from Monaco, and Mario Mandzukic and Dani Alves gave the Old Lady a deserved 2-0 lead before half-time.
Kylian Mbappe restored some pride after 68 minutes, but Monaco never came close to completing a comeback for the ages.
Sami Khedira returned from suspension and went straight into the starting XI for Juventus:
Andrea Raggi entered the starting XI for Monaco, giving the visitors a lot of versatility in the defense
Nabil Dirar suffered an injury while warming up, and Benjamin Mendy replaced him.
Monaco needed to start fast and threatened inside of five minutes, with a blocked shot falling to Mbappe. The youngster struck the post but clearly did so from an offside position and was rightly flagged down.
Khedira went on a surging run but suffered an injury in the process, and Claudio Marchisio replaced him after just nine minutes.
After Monaco’s bright start, Juventus took over, and they began searching for a goal to kill the tie Gonzalo Higuian perhaps should have given his side the lead when he found himself alone in front of Danijel Subasic, but his chip didn’t even make the goal line.
Subasic produced a stunning save to deny Mandzukic from close range minutes later, prompting this tweet from Ryan Catanese of BeIN Sports USA:
He was proved correct shortly after. Alves curled a perfect cross into the box, and while Subasic saved Mandzukic’s initial header, he was powerless to stop the rebound.
Former England international Gary Lineker praised the Brazilian:
Juventus continued to push forward, with Higuain having a goal waved down for offside before putting Subasic to work with an angled drive.
The Bianconeri were unleashed at this point, with Paulo Dybala missing a huge chance―courtesy of another great save from Subasic―before Alves scored a screamer from the resulting corner. The ball fell perfectly for a volley, and the former Barcelona man didn’t hesitate.
Monaco started the second half brightly, even if their situation seemed dire. Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri took off Dybala after just 53 minutes, with Juventus convinced the tie was over and resting their stars. Replacement Juan Cuadrado took too long on the ball, wasting a great chance for 3-0.
The Bianconeri didn’t have to push for more goals, but they kept getting the better looks. Juventus were under so little pressure, Mandzukic even turned down a corner kick after admitting he touched the ball last.
On the other side of the pitch, Mbappe put Gianluigi Buffon to work, the veteran showing he’s still among the world’s best.
But one minute later, Juventus’ lengthy streak without conceding was over. The ball flashed into the box, and Mbappe pushed it home from close range.
What had been a fair match got out of hand after 71 minutes when Kamil Glik stamped on Higuain, injuring the Argentinian. He spent minutes prone on the pitch, and in the aftermath, an incident between Mandzukic and Fabinho led to a skirmish.
As Football Italia shared, the Bianconeri staff had to hold back Higuain when he was finally able to stand again:
The former Napoli man calmed down in time, although Glik did his best to antagonise him with more rough play.
The incidents in the final minutes only aided Juventus, who easily played out the match to book their spot in the final.
Juventus will face the winner of the tie between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the final at National Stadium of Wales in Cardiff on June 3.
Credit Bleacher report