Italian football giants Juventus rode on a brace from star striker Gonzalo Higuain to register a 2-0 away victory over AS Monaco in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final here.
In their first appearance in the tournament’s semi-final since 2004, Monaco, whose impressive forward line have tallied 146 goals in all competitions so far this season, were restrained throughout the game by the superb Juventus defence which has conceded just two goals in 10 Champions League game this term, reports Xinhua news agency.
This was Monaco’s first loss at home after a run of 13 victories in a row at the Stade Louis II.
Juventus managed to maintain their clean sheet in the knockout stage of the Champions League this season. They will host Monaco in the return leg next Tuesday.
Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe went close twice early during Wednesday night’s game at the Stade Louis II, both saved by 39-year-old Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
The visitors took advantage of space in their counter- attack to go up in the 29th minute, as Higuain put Dani Alves’ back-heel cross from the right flank into the net.
Juventus doubled their lead in the 59th minute, when Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko was dispossesed by Paulo Dybala. The Argentine international passed the ball to Alves on the right, before the latter fed Higuain for his second goal of the match.
In an attempt to stage a comeback with their familiar offensive style, Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim introduced Joao Moutinho and Valere Germain, but they were unable to break down the visitors’ defence.
“Recording several games without scoring in the competition, I knew that I just needed to keep calm and word hard,” Higuain said.