Juventus firmly put one foot in the Champions League final, with two goals from Gonzalo Higuaín gave them a 2-0 victory over AS Monaco.
It was end to end stuff during the first period at the Stade Louis II, with good half chances for Higuaín, Kylian Mbappé and Radamel Falcao all coming close before Higuaín slotted home a crucial away goal before the half hour mark.
The second period failed to live up to the same expectations set by the first with Falcao going close after the restart, but a second goal from Higuaín gave the Old Lady a healthy lead heading back to Turin.
After a resounding but disappointing contest in the Santiago Bernabéu the previous evening, the clash in Monaco got off to a flying start with both sides having their equally good opportunities in the early proceedings.
It was good play from the Italians in the 11th minute as the ball made it over Dani Alves as he ran in from the wing, the stand-in winger played it across for Higuaín but the Argentine made a feeble attempt of getting his head on it.
Monaco went down the other end had their equally own excellent opportunity, Mbappé did well to beat the offside trap to get onto Nabil Dirar’s cross back in but the free header is into the hands of Gianluigi Buffon.
The millennial has been taking the latter stages of Europe’s elite competition by storm, and he had another excellent opportunity in the 16th minute. It was excellent from the 18-year-old as he made the run between the two defenders to get on Dirar’s excellent ball to the near post, he got a touch on it but the veteran Buffon got down well.
Falcao then had his own opportunity minutes later as he got a strong head to the ball in, Buffon had it covered as it looked to be going wide as it clipped the post on its way behind.
Liquid football for the opening goal
It would have been fair to say that Juventus had been on the back foot for the majority of the first period, but got themselves a crucial lead just before the half hour mark with an excellent team move.
It was started through Paulo Dybala with his excellent flick into the path of Higuaín, the Argentine played it off to Alves before making the run. The Brazilian played an excellent back heel pass back into Higuain who coolly slotted into the bottom corner with his celebrations been justified.
Killing the tie
Leonardo Jardim’s side came out for the second period knowing that they would need a goal to take to the Juventus stadium, Falcao wasted a great opportunity right at the restart and was punished for it as Higuain added his and side’s second of the night.
It was another team display before the hour mark again started by Dybala as he put it out Alves, he floated a great ball into the back post which left Kamil Glik flailing and Higuain slid in to stick it past Danijel Subasic.
Monaco had one more opportunity to try and take something to Italy, as João Moutinho put a great ball into the area which found the head of Valère Germain which was tipped over by Buffon.