Tuesday 14th April 2015, Juventus Stadium. Live on Sky Sports 1. Kick-off 7:45pm.
Juventus will battle for a first Champions League semi-final berth since 2003 when they entertain competition underdogs Monaco in Tuesday’s first leg.
The Old Lady are closing in on their fourth successive Serie A title – they hold a 12-lead at the top with only eight games remaining – allowing them to solely focus on breaking a 12 year wait.
In 2003 Juve fell at the last hurdle, losing a penalty shoot-out against AC Milan in the final, and have since gone out in their last three quarter final outings in 2013, 2006, and 2005.
This time around the Italians have looked one of the tournament’s strongest sides having swept aside Borussia Dortmund 5-1 in the Round of 16. Three goals from the club’s leading scorer Carlos Tevez and two from strike partner Alvaro Morata secured their progression and, whilst heading into the game as favourites, manager Massimiliano Allegri know his side must be wary of Monaco’s threat.
The former AC Milan boss said; “In the group stage [Monaco] eliminated Benfica and Zenit, they concede one goal in six games, so they are quality.
“Also in France I believe they possess the best defensive department as they only conceded 22 goals, all this shows that they are very organised, the coach is good and clever so to qualify we have to play two very good games.
“Many say we’re favourites [to make it through] but it will tough for us to reach the semi-finals if we don’t approach the game with the same technical intensity and mental intensity showed against [Borussia] Dortmund.”
Monaco have a fight on their hands to progress for next year’s Champions League but took the advantage when their 3-0 win over Caen on Friday lifted them over Marseille into third.
Away from Ligue 1, the French outfit have impressed in this term’s competition. They topped their Group, conceding just one as they lost only one outing, before progressing against Arsenal. A 3-1 road win at the Emirates proved enough when they went through on away goals following a 2-0 second-leg defeat.
Ahead of the game, Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim explains that Tuesday’s opponents are better than Arsenal and despite being the underdogs, his side deserve respect.
“Juventus are a better team than Arsenal. They are in the quarter-final of the Champions League and deserve to be there,” the 40-year-old claimed
“Juve are a better team, it’s not complicated. They are top of their league.
“We deserve to be here and we deserve respect. We have quality and we know what a difficult game this will be.”
It will be a tight affair at the Juventus Stadium on Tuesday but the home side should have the quality to register a narrow victory. Allegri’s side have lost just once on home soil this term in all competitions but none of the last eight have been separated by more than two goals. Back a Juventus win at 1/2 with Totesport and their to be Under 2.5 goals with 888 Sport at 3/5.