Wednesday UCL Preview: Juventus aim to halt Monaco’s impressive run to put one foot in final

Italian champions Juventus make the tough trip to Monaco, as they look to silence the free-scoring French side and edge closer towards a first Champions League trophy in 21 years.

The Serie A giants thrashed Barcelona 3-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final, which was enough for Massimiliano Allegri’s side to score revenge over the Catalans for defeat in the 2015 final and reach a second semi-final in three years.

Paulo Dybala scored twice in Juventus’ 3-0 win over Barcelona
image: dailymail.co.uk

Monaco have thrilled fans with their performances in the Champions League this season, including beating Borussia Dortmund both home and away in the quarter-finals, as they reached the semi-finals for the first time since 2004.

The Ligue 1 leaders have won six of their seven home games in the Champions League this season and will hope to break down Juventus’ solid defence – who have only conceded two goals in the campaign – in order to reach just a second Champions League final.

Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim believes his side are in for their toughest test yet this campaign and knows his side must work very hard to find a way past a solid Juventus defence.

“They are well organised and physical defensively, ” said the 42-year-old.

“In attack, they are strong and they really only need two chances to score one. They are clinical and very good at set pieces. They are very hard to defend against. We’ll need to pay attention to transitional phases and we will also need to move the ball quickly going forward.

“We scored three at Dortmund, three at Man City and also a couple at Tottenham. Juventus are very different to Dortmund and City though. Those clubs are more attack-minded and less focused on defence.”

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri was full of praise for Monaco’s success in the Champions League this campaign, but believes that his players can end the French side’s impressive run.

“We will need to produce two big performances,” said the former AC Milan boss.

“Monaco in 2015 were stronger defensively and now they are stronger as an attacking unit. Monaco score a lot of goals, especially at the end of matches.

“I hope we will become the first team to beat Monaco in this stadium in this competition this season. They play very direct football and they are very different from the side we faced two years ago.”

Monaco bagged a 6-3 aggregate win over Dortmund in the quarter-finals
image: 90min.com

Team News

Ligue 1 leaders have midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko available for the first leg of their semi-final against Juventus, but the Frenchman will play with a protective mask after breaking his nose.

Right-back Djibril Sidibe is doubtful to feature after suffering from appendicitis, while striker Garrido Carillo (groin) and midfielder Boschilla (ankle) are long-term absentees.

Juventus are without the suspended Sami Khedira for the trip to the Stade Louis II, after the former Real Madrid midfielder picked up a second yellow in their scoreless draw at Barcelona two weeks ago.

Croatian winger Marko Pjaca is a long-term absentee having been ruled out for six months due to an ACL injury suffered on international duty back in March, while centre back Daniele Rugani is also definitely out with a leg injury.

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