A contentious Arturo Vidal penalty gave Juventus the 1-0 Champions League quarter-final victory over Monaco. The decider will be in the Principality on April 22, where ASM have won only twice in the competition this season. The Bianconeri were the favourites on paper in this first leg quarter-final, but fresh from a shock defeat to Serie A bottom club Parma and facing a Monaco side that eliminated Arsenal with a 3-1 win in London. They had scored only seven goals in their eight games so far, but conceded fewer than any other club in the Champions League this season. Andrea Pirlo made his first appearance in three weeks, but Paul Pogba was still sidelined and Andrea Barzagli only fit for the bench. The visitors missed Jeremy Toulalan and opted for Ricardo Carvalho and Anthony Martial rather than Wallace and Dimitar Berbatov.
After an expected bright opening from the home side in which Morata volleyed over the bar from just six yards after being picked out by an inch-perfect pass Andrea Pirlo pass, it was actually Monaco who slowly began take control of proceedings. First Yannick Carrasco passed up a golden opportunity to give the visitors a vital away goal to take back with them to France after being picked out in the area following a fine driving run by Anthony Martial, only for the Belgium winger to somehow fail to beat Gianluigi Buffon from close range when it seemed easier to score. Then just seconds later the same player again tested Buffon with a low shot from the edge of the area, which the Juve captain did well to turn round the post after the ball was deflected en route to goal. And when an unmarked Layvin Kurzawa also directed a header off target just past the quarter-hour mark, the home fansa unhappiness with how Monaco were dominating was clear for all to hear. But Juventus soon recovered their poise, and control of the contest, despite strong Monaco appeals for a penalty after Giorgio Chiellini appeared to haul the speedy Martial down in the box, with the hosts missing a glut of opportunities as the game moved towards the break. First Tevez failed to make good enough contact with the ball after being found unmarked at the back post by Claudio Marchisioa s curling left-wing centre, before left-back Patrice Evra blazed wildly over the crossbar after fine approach play on the right-hand by-line from Roberto Pereyra. However, it was Vidal who was guilty of the worst miss of all. The Chilean was played clean through on goal by a delicious defence-splitting pass from Tevez, only for the midfielder to miss the target with only Danijel Subasic to beat in the Monaco goal.
Monaco were first to threaten in the second half, Bernardo Silva breaking into the box at the end of a swift raid before forcing a save out of Buffon with his left boot. Nabil Dirar went off with a knee injury and Tevez was unable to tap in a corner, then Monaco threatened on the counter with Buffon palming a Bernardo Silva shot round the near post. In the 57th minute, however, Juve were gifted an opportunity to score. When Ricardo Carvalho brought Alvaro Morata down in the area, Vidal stepped up to the mark and beat Subasic with a driven spot-kick. The Chilean hadna t found the net in this tournament since a hat-trick against FC Copenhagen in November 2013.Then, with Juve still celebrating, Kondogbia tried to surprise Buffon with a shot from distance but the veteran keeper flicked the ball out for a corner. Sensing a backlash, Bianconeri boss Massimiliano Allegri withdrew playmaker Andrea Pirlo for defender Andrea Barzagli, and Monacoa s ability to retaliate steadily weakened. Kondogbia did wriggle into the area as time ticked away, but the save was easy for Buffon and full-time soon ended the principality cluba s tame challenge. Juve comfortably saw out the closing stages, but they will be far from confident of sealing the deal next week given they have lost every Champions League contest they have ever played on French soil.
Juventus did enough to claim the win this evening after a dominant performance. They were in control of the match and they enjoyed a huge amount of the ball. Monaco deserve credit for their defensive display and they almost managed to claim a draw, but for a rare defensive lapse by Carvalho that gave away the penalty. With the scoreline so finely poised, there is still everything to play for when the teams meet at the Stade Louis II next Wednesday. The Bianconeri were not at their absolute best, but they managed to grind out another narrow victory. They struggled to create many clear-cut chances against a stubborn Monaco defence, but Carlos Tevez and Vidal both missed very presentable openings in the first half. Once they went ahead, they expertly killed the game off to ensure a vital result. The visitors may argue that the foul for the penalty happened just outside the box, but Carvalho was extremely fortunate not to pick up a red card. In the end, they failed to take their chances and it means that they will have big task on their hands to overturn the deficit in the return meeting.
The Bianconeri face a top-of-the-table clash in Serie A at the weekend when they welcome Lazio to Turin while Monaco will be looking to continue their Ligue 1 title challenge against Rennes on Saturday evening.