MX23RW : Saturday, October 20 01:04:31
May 3, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Stade Louis II

Fabinho (37')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Higuain (29', 59')
Bonucci (21'), Marchisio (58'), Chiellini (69')

Result: Gonzalo Higuain brace puts Juventus on brink of Champions League final

Gonzalo Higuain scores twice as Juventus put one foot in the final of the Champions League with a 2-0 win away at AS Monaco in the first leg of their semi-final.

Juventus have put one foot into the final of the Champions League courtesy of a 2-0 away win over AS Monaco in the first leg of their semi-final this evening.

A Gonzalo Higuain brace at the Stade Louis II was enough to put Massimiliano Allegri's side in complete control of the tie at the halfway stage as they look to reach their second final in the space of three years to keep their treble hopes alive.

Monaco must now score twice in Turin next Tuesday if they are to stand any chance of reaching just their second Champions League final, but will face a Juventus side who have now kept six consecutive clean sheets in the competition.

The match was billed as a fascinating contest between Monaco's youthful and free-scoring attackers and Juve's battle-hardened and experienced defence, but it was the visitors who made the more positive start to the contest and both Dani Alves and Higuain failed to make the most of half-chances in the opening 15 minutes.

Monaco soon settled themselves, though, and having become the first team in Champions League history to have scored three or more goals in four consecutive knockout games they began to flex their attacking muscles once again.

It was no surprise to see Kylian Mbappe heavily involved, and the youngster should have made it 19 goals in his last 19 games when he lost his marker to latch on to a cross into the box, but he could only plant his header straight into the arms of Gianluigi Buffon.

Mbappe was not even born when Buffon began his professional career, but the pair found themselves doing battle again moments later when the 18-year-old starlet drew a smart save from the Juve keeper after flicking Nabil Dirar's clever cross towards goal at the near post.

The hosts continued to push for the opening goal and Buffon was required to turn a Radamel Falcao header around the post before Kamil Glik failed to steer a header of his own on target having risen highest inside the area.

Juventus weathered the storm, though, and having squandered some clear chances to become the first team to score past the Old Lady in the Champions League since November, Monaco were made to rue those missed opportunities.

Higuain missed one chance to punish the hosts when he could only fire a Giorgio Chiellini flick-on back across the face of goal, but the Argentine made no mistake with his next sight of goal as he brought up 30 for the season by finishing off a brilliant team move.

No fewer than eight Juventus players were involved in the build-up - including a lovely flick from Paulo Dybala - before Alves back-heeled the ball into the path of Higuain, who buried his first ever away Champions League knockout goal into the corner.

It was a devastating lesson for the youngsters of Monaco on just how unforgiving the highest level can be, and the hosts struggled to respond to the setback as they went into the break behind.

Juventus's formidable home record left Monaco knowing that they were likely to need at least one goal in the second half, and they emerged from the interval like a team intent on levelling things in the opening stages as Falcao fired an early chance straight at Buffon.

The Italian shot-stopper was forced into a more routine save shortly afterwards when he collected Bernardo Silva's well-struck effort, but Juve soon hit back and Danijel Subasic was required to make a fine stop to keep Claudio Marchisio at bay after the midfielder had stolen possession high up the field.

Monaco failed to heed that warning, though, and they were punished again shortly before the hour mark when Tiemoue Bakayoko was dispossessed on the halfway line. Dybala went on to give the ball out to Alves, who in turn delivered an inch-perfect cross for Higuain to roll home his second of the night at the back post.

Leonardo Jardim turned to the experience of Joao Moutinho off the bench in an attempt to turn the match around and, while the midfielder did make an impact in the final half-hour of the game, Monaco as a team looked shell-shocked and failed to trouble Juventus again until the final minute of normal time.

Buffon once again came to the rescue to prevent the hosts from grabbing a late lifeline, tipping Valere Germain's header over the crossbar to take another step towards the one trophy which has eluded him in his illustrious career.

The result ends Monaco's 13-match winning streak at the Stade Louis II and is their first home defeat in Europe this season, while Juventus maintain their unbeaten record in the competition this term.

The win was only the second Juve have managed in 12 previous away Champions League semi-finals, but they will now head back to Turin as favourites to progress to the final, where they would face either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid.

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