Juventus scraped into the last four of the Uefa Champions League after defending their slight first-leg win away to Monaco.
Juve fended off Monaco’s determined fight in a match bereft of noteworthy chances to join Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid in Friday’s semi-final draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The Bianconeri are into the last four of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since their runners-up berth 12 years ago.
The hosts were resolute at staging a crucial comeback but no matter how hard they tried, the Italian champions’ defense would not just budge. Masimmiliano Allegri’s side momentarily pressed to seal it off on the counterattack.
Juventus had kept clean sheets in four of their last seven games in Europe. Monaco have just seven goals in nine matches coming into the decisive tie at the Stade Louis II. It was always expected to boil down to who strikes the first blow; however, we all waited but to no avail.
Andrea Berzagli was on hand to halt Bernando Silva’s cross in the 15th minute following a lovely move involving four players in a tiny space on the right.
There was little to separate both sides in terms of attempts, despite the hosts bossing the opening dispensation.
Dimitar Berbatov’s introduction in the second half appeared to add more bite to the principality attack but the breakthrough yet was far from being fetched, with only a timely Patrice Evra intervention averting a near disastrous ending when Gigi Buffon rushed off his line and missed Joao Mautinho’s delivery.
Two-time European champions, Juve, shut up shop in the closing minutes of the encounter; now employing a five-man defensive lineup, but the breakthrough would not just click for Leonardo Joardim’s men.
Andrea Pirlo almost grabbed a winner on 89 minutes but his long-range free-kick rattled the crossbar.