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Monaco vs. Juventus – Preview to UEFA Champions League Semifinal

Monaco vs. Juventus Photo credit to oimoko0114 via Flickr

UEFA Champions League

 A quick look at UEFA Champions League semifinal match between Monaco vs. Juventus

Tournament Favorites vs. Tournament Darlings – Preview to UEFA Champions League Semifinal

Match Facts:

  • Juventus have won both previous meetings 1997/1998 semis and 2014/2015 quarters
  • Juventus are 1/11 in semifinal away legs
  • Monaco have won 6/7 UEFA Champions league home games
  • Juventus have allowed a mere two goals this campaign

How did they get here?

Monaco: Monaco kicked off their campaign quietly. Not favorites to move on, they overcame CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen, and Tottenham to book a place in the knockout stages. Also, entering the round 16 the Les Monégasques entered as tournament dark horses to raise the cup. With this in mind, Monaco demonstrated that they fit this label, with an unbelievable round of 16 victory over Manchester City. They continued their scoring tear against Borussia Dortmund to make the semis.

Juventus: The Italian champions carried their success into the UEFA Champions League. Juventus stifling team defense, have allowed the Old Ladies to cruise into semifinals unbeaten. In addition, they dominated their group that included Sevilla and Lyon, by only conceding one goal throughout all the group stage. As a result, the dominance carried over into round of 16, as they easily deposed of Porto 3-0 aggregate. As that was not impressive enough, they then conquered Barcelona by the same aggregate score line.

Game Changers:

Kylian Mbappé: The sky is the limit for young French striker. Sooner or later, in a squad full of young talent, the 18-year-old forward’s scoring tear has captured all the headlines. Known to many as “new Thierry Henry”, he has seen the back of the night five times in the knockout phase.  In fact, after Mbappé struck early against Dortmund, only Raúl González had more UEFA Champions League goals at his age. Should Monaco wish to conquer the Italian giant’s, Mbappé needs to continue be in form.

Paulo Dybala: The Argentinian superstar hasn’t quite equaled his goal scoring of 2015/16. The 23-year old’s talent and presence showed through UEFA Champions League. He has converted goals in the biggest of games. Also, Dybala’s two strikes against Barcelona were pivotal and aided Juventus to move into semifinals. The young striker must make his mark against Monaco should he wish to push Juventus to the finals.

Third Times the Charm for Monaco?

Monaco have lost twice to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League, and will look to take a momentous step towards conquering an opponent who have never lost a two-legged tie to French opposition. Last, the overwhelming defense of Juventus will close a book on the young squads run and punch a ticket for Cardiff.

Predicted Line Ups:

Monaco: Subašić; Mendy, Jemerson, Glik, Touré; Bernardo Silva, Fabinho, Bakayoko, Lemar; Mbappé, Falcao. Out: Boschilia (knee), Carrillo (groin) Doubtful: Sidibé (appendicitis), Bakayoko (nose)

Juventus: Buffon; Dani Alves, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Pjanić, Marchisio; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandžukić; Higuaín. Out: Khedira (suspended), Pjaca (knee), Rugani (leg)