Stade Louis II, Monaco
Wednesday 22nd April, 2015, 20:45 GMT
Juventus will be hoping to make it 11 victories out of 11 against French teams in knockout ties when they face AS Monaco in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday. Juventus moved 15 points clear at the top of Serie A after beating second-placed Lazio 2-0 on Saturday as they close in on a fourth successive domestic crown. They also have their eyes on a first Champions League semi-final appearance since 2003. On current form they will start the match at Stade Louis II as favourites to reach the last four. They have won all 10 of their previous knockout ties against French teams in Europe while Monaco have won only one of six ties against Italian clubs. The Ligue 1 club have also not won any of their last four home matches in any competition. Massimiliano Allegri saw his men win last week’s first leg 1-0 in Turin thanks to Arturo Vidal’s second-half penalty and they travel to Monaco seeking a third straight away win in the competition after victories at Malmo and Borussia Dortmund.
While Allegri is enjoying Juve’s good form, his Monaco counterpart Leonardo Jardim has had to watch his side stumble in recent weeks. Since winning 3-1 at Arsenal in the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie on Feb. 25, Monaco’s form has slipped. They squeezed into the last eight of the Champions League on away goals after losing 2-0 at home to Arsenal and after failing to find the net against Juve last week, only drew 1-1 with Rennes in Ligue 1 on Saturday. The result dented their title hopes and left Jardim frustrated with his side winning only twice in their last seven matches in all competitions. Unless Monaco, click back into gear on Wednesday and come out looking for goals from the start to secure their first Champions League semi-final appearance since 2004, their season is in real danger of fizzling out.
Team news and tactical brief
It would be fair to say that Monaco are probably the surprise name in the quarter-finals of the Champions League – a competition that they are participating in for the first time in nine years. The principality outfit have a history of punching above their weight in Europe, having surprised many to reach the 2003-04 final, but they have hardly romped their way into the last eight this year. Leonardo Jardim’s side have won less matches en route to this stage than any of the other seven remaining teams and were perhaps fortunate to top a group in which Benfica were first seeds.
Their 1-0 defeat at the Juventus Stadium last week means that they cannot take the same approach on Wednesday. Instead, Monaco must push forward in search of a goal without which they will be eliminated. Their attacking limitations are exemplified by the fact that none of their players have scored more than once in Europe this campaign. Regardless of their Champions League fate, Monaco will be able to took back on this transitional season – prior to which they sold several their big-name players to focus on developing younger talent – with a great deal of pride. They are third in the Ligue 1 table and on course to qualify for the Champions League again next term, although three draws from their last four games have created a six-point gap which will be stretched to nine should Paris Saint-Germain win their game in hand. Tiemoue Bakayoko missed the weekend meeting with Rennes through injury and is a doubt for Monaco here. Layvin Kurzawa and Aymen Abdennour played no part in the aforementioned fixture, but should come into the starting XI. Lacina Traore is out injured but Geoffrey Kondogbia and Jeremy Toulalan are both expected to return.
Probable Starting Line-up (4-2-3-1): Subasic(Gk); Fabinho, Abdennour, Carvalho, Kurzawa; Kondogbia, Toulalan; Ferreira Carrasco, Moutinho, Silva; Berbatov
The Old Lady have not gone beyond the last eight since losing in the final to Italian rivals AC Milan in the 2002-03 season, but are certainly in the form that makes them potential contenders for a third European Cup triumph, and first in 19 years. There is little point betting on the outcome of the Serie A title race as Juve have surged clear of Roma since returning from the winter break and now hold a 15-point lead at the top with seven games remaining this term. Ominously for Monaco, they had kept clean sheets in their three previous away games, including a thumping 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in the last 16.
In-demand midfielder Paul Pogba is one of four absentees for the visitors, along with Kwadwo Asamoah, Romulo and Martin Caceres. Allegri rested Alvaro Morata, Roberto Pereyra and Stephan Lichtsteiner against Lazio, but all three should return, with Andrea Barzagli among those to drop out as Juventus revert to a four-man defence. Up front alongside Morata will be Carlos Tevez, who has already scored 26 goals this season.
Probable Starting Line-up (3-5-2):Buffon(Gk); Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Evra; Tevez, Morata
- Monaco have lost their two European away games against Juventus, but they won their only meeting with the Bianconeri at home (3-2 in the 1997/98 semifinals).
- Monaco have lost just one of their five European games at home against Italian sides (W3 D1), the first trip of any Italian club to the Principality (1-3 against Inter in the 1963/64 European Cup first round).
- Juventus have lost just one of their last seven games in European competitions against French sides (W4 D2).
Players to Watch Out For
Dimitar Berbatov (Monaco)
Anthony Martial was very lively in the first leg but Dimitar Berbatova s experience may see him get the nod over highly-rated youngster.
Carlos Tevez (Juventus)
An away goal would almost certainly put the tie beyond the goal-shy hosts and Tevez is the man most likely to get on the scoresheet for the Bianconeri tonight.
Monaco 1a 1 Juventus
Monaco were unfortunate to come away from the Juventus Stadium with a loss last week having put in a good account themselves in Turin. While they are without a number of key players, they will be confident of overturning the one-goal deficit when they welcome Juventus to the French Riviera. The Old Lady took a huge step towards the Serie A title and they can now focus their efforts, for the time being, on the Champions League. Juventus have steamrolled their way to the summit of Italy’s top tier and will now look to transfer their form over to Europe once more. Monaco have drawn their last 3 home games and similar could happen here, with Juventus progressing as a result.
Blast From the Past
A repeat of Monaco’s 3-2 win at the Stade Louis II in 1998 during which a certain Thierry Henry was on the scoresheet would not be enough for the French club to progress tonight.