Juventus 2-1 Monaco: Italians reach Champions League final

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Dani Alves and Mario Mandzukic sent Juventus into the Champions League final as the Italian giants eased by Monaco in a 90 minutes that seemed all too comfortable.

The Brazilian full-back was the real star, with a stunning volley and an assist as well.

Monaco was dangerous through the opening 20 minutes, and forced the Juventus defenders to make a few last-ditch clearances and tackles. Georgio Chiellini in particular was needed as he cleared it off the line after a shot got past Gianluigi Buffon.

Juventus would eventually gain control of the match past the 20-minute mark. Gonzalo Higuain had a big chance one-on-one with Danijel Subasic, but while his chip got past the Monaco goalkeeper, Kamil Glick was there to clear it off the line. Subasic then made a spectacular save on Mandzukic who got through.

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Mandzukic would make amends just past the half-hour mark to put the two-legged tie away. The ball switched flanks from left to right, and eventually fell to Dani Alves. The Brazilian, who had both assists in the first leg, delivered yet another glittering cross to Mandzukic making a far-post run, and while the striker’s header was saved by Subasic, he roofed the rebound from point-blank range for the opening goal.

Moments later, Alves nearly had yet another assist, but his beautiful through ball to spring Higuain saw the referee’s flag correctly raised for offside.

Monaco, however, didn’t give in. Minutes before the halftime break, a superb cross from Benjamin Mendy nearly met the outstretched leg of Falcao, but Chiellini made a stunning tackle to turn the cross behind for a corner on a slide that would see most defenders end up with the ball in their own net.

The missed chance would loom large as Juventus end up down the other end with a second goal to well and truly put the match away. Paulo Dybala had a one-on-one chance saved well by Subasic, but on the ensuing corner, the goalkeeper’s punch fell to Alves who delivered a cracking one-time volley before the ball fell to ground that rippled the back of the net.

After the break, Monaco would eventually pull one back with 20 minutes to go as Kylian Mbappe’s close-range poke was the first goal conceded by Juventus in 689 Champions League minutes.

Things got physical as Glick stamped on an infuriated Higuain, while Mandzukic was the recipient of an elbow from substitute Fabinho.

Monaco had little else to offer as Juventus time-wasted expertly and the French club couldn’t stop fouling. The win for Juventus moves them into their ninth European final and their second in the last three seasons. Meanwhile, Monaco’s fabulous run comes to an end, stunted by the incredible Juventus defense and let down by their own porous back line.