Italian champions Juventus reach Champions League final
A stunning Dani Alves volley helped Juventus stroll into their second Champions League final in three years on Tuesday, a 2-1 win on the night completing a 4-1 aggregate victory over outclassed Monaco.
Brazilian wing-back Alves’s 25-yard strike followed Mario Mandzukic’s opener for the treble-chasing Italian champions as any semblance of a contest was snuffed out by halftime.
Teenage star Kylian Mbappe pulled a goal back for the principality club after the break, his sixth of the competition.
But there was never any realistic prospect of them threatening to overturn a 2-0 deficit from last week’s first leg.
It will be the ninth time Juventus, runners-up to Barcelona in 2015, have contested the final of Europe’s elite club competition.
And on this evidence, Massimiliano Allegri’s sinewy, battle-hardened squad stand a good chance of adding to the club’s meagre return of two triumphs when they meet either Atletico Madrid or Real Madrid in Cardiff on June 3.
“I think we have a good chance of winning the trophy,” Allegri said. “We have all grown since 2015, including myself, and getting to the final is no easy thing. The Champions is a serious competition.
“Now we are in the crucial phase of the season because we have not won anything yet. In order we have the championship, the Italian Cup and the Champions: there is no time for slacking, we have to take care of the details and we have a month to get ready for Cardiff.”
Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim batted off suggestions that Tuesday might have been the last big night for his talented young squad before its brightest stars are lured away.
“I am going to stay and I think all the players are going to stay. In three years’ time this squad will be 25, 30 percent better.”
Jardim said he expected Juve to be facing Real in Cardiff and said the Italians would be anything but underdogs.
“This Juve is stronger than it was in 2015. There are many of the same players but with more experience of this level.
“The final is two teams with many quality players and experience of matches like that – it could go either way. I don’t think there are any favourites.”
Allegri made only one change from last week’s first-leg line-up but was soon forced to restore it as Germany midfielder Sami Khedira, returning from suspension, lasted only 10 minutes before limping off to make way for Claudio Marchisio.
For Monaco, the loss of Nabil Dirar to injury in the warm-up meant a hasty return for Benjamin Mendy as coach Leonardo Jardim opted to match Juve’s 3-5-2 set-up.