Juventus moved into the last four of the Champions League for the first time in 12 years after playing out a goalless draw with Monaco in the second leg of their quarterfinal tie. Juve went into the clash with a 1-0 aggregate lead after tasting victory against the principality club in the first leg and the Italian giants held onto that lead to book their place in the last-four draw along with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Old Lady made the trip south to the Stade Louis II aware of the fact that a clean sheet would mean progression to the Champions League semifinals and a place at football’s top table. Massimiliano Allegri chose to send out his men in the tried-and-tested 3-5-2, with Andrea Barzagli’s return offering aerial reinforcement against a Monaco attack heavily reliant on crosses from the wings. Andrea Pirlo came back to the base of midfield, with Roberto Pereyra starting this one from the bench. Paul Pogba and Martin Caceres were still sidelined, but Vidal had recovered from tonsillitis. Jeremy Toulalan missed the first leg, but he was back in the starting XI, though Ricardo Carvalho was ruled out and Nabil Dirar only fit for the bench.
Juventus almost made the worst possible start with Giorgio Chiellini slipping on the ball in defence within the first minute and almost allowing Anthony Martial in. The defender swiped the ball away, earning a yellow card for his troubles. Monaco were dominating early proceedings, the impressive Geoffrey Kondogbia teeing himself for a powerful volley that whistled over the crossbar. At the other end Carlos Tevez scuffed a good chance after Andrea Pirlo played a perfectly weighted pass through the French defence. Instead of bringing the ball down, the Argentine opted to head it weakly into Danijel Subasica s arms. The best chance of the first half fell to Bernardo Silva. A wonderful one-two with Joao Moutinho saw Silva burst into the box and send in a low delivery across the face of goal, deflecting inches wide of the goal off the outstretched leg of Andrea Barzagli. Kondogbia was causing Juventus problems in midfield, using his strength to avoid Pirlo but could only fire straight at Buffon. Shortly after Pirlo provided a trademark defence-splitting pass, eluding Monacoa s defence. Stephan Lichtsteiner would have been clear through on goal had it not been for the quick thinking of the on-rushing Subasic. Monaco had strong claims for a penalty waved away as Martial recovered the ball and released Kondogbia, only to be squeezed out by Chiellini and Arturo Vidal. On the strike of half-time Alvaro Morata won the ball back and spun away from Silva majestically to send in Tevez, but his shot was dragged wide as a cagey first-half came to a close.
The half-time whistle came at the wrong time for Juventus, with the visitors unable to build on their late spell of first-half pressure in the second period. Monaco almost broke the deadlock in the 50th minute when Moutinho’s cross from the left caused chaos in the visitors’ box, with Buffon failing in his bid to punch the ball to safety, but Patrice Evra was on hand to clear the danger on the line. The hosts came close again five minutes later when a mix-up in Juve’s defence saw the ball fall kindly for substitute Dimitar Berbatov just inside the area, but Buffon came out quickly to thwart him. Silva dragged his first-time shot wide from the very edge of the penalty area in the 62nd minute as Monaco continued to throw everything at Juventus. Andrea Pirlo could have scored a late winner for Massimiliano Allegri’s side in the 90th minute when he sent a thumping free-kick towards goal from 30 yards – but his effort clipped the woodwork.
It was tight and it was tough, but Juventus are through to the semi-finals of the Champions League. Neither team really came close to scoring, with only one shot on goal. Still, Juve fought hard and defended relatively well, and they won the tie with an aggregate score of 1-0. Allegri revealed that Carlos T vez was sick before the game, A?lvaro Morata was seen vomiting after the game, and Arturo Vidal was running a high fever. The Bianconeri returned to the Champions League semis after a 12-year hiatus. Juventus shouldna t really fear any side, despite being the outsiders of the four that remain. The fact that they are legitimately rubbing shoulders with Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid a the three biggest names in modern football as shown by the presence of at least two of those teams in the last five Champions League semifinals a shows just how far the Old Lady has come. Italian clubs dominated Europe at the start of the millennium, winning the Champions League three times between 2001-2010, but in recent years they have struggled. Fans from Barcelona to Bayern Munich via Madrid will not be quaking in their boots just yet, but the Bianconeri are back where they believe they belong. Different tests await, and a celebrated back line that has now kept nine clean sheets in 10 matches will have to remain watertight if they want to reach Berlin in June.