Juve hold edge in Champions League quarters as Monaco pay the penalty
Juventus will take a narrow lead into their Champions League quarter-final trip to Monaco, after Arturo Vidal expertly converted a second-half penalty in Turin to make home advantage in the first leg tell.
A clash of styles and system saw the Old Lady’s midfield diamond survive Leonardo Jardim’s counter-attacking team, with evergreen metronome Andrea Pirlo playing a huge part in Juve’s winner upon his return to action.
Veteran playmaker Pirlo’s sumptuous scooped ball over the top forced ex-Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho into making a clumsy challenge on Alvaro Morata. The Monaco centre back may have been just outside the area when committing this foul, but was lucky to escape with a caution when clearly the last man.
This penalty flash-point followed 54 minutes of the visitors hoping to hit their hosts on the break. Jardim continued to use the gameplan which helped Monaco stun Arsenal in the last round, but Gianluigi Buffon would not be beaten.
Winger Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, who recently earned his first senior cap for Belgium, twice drew stops from the Juventus captain. Monaco looked to exploit space in behind attack-minded home side full back Stephan Lichtsteiner, and went back to front as quickly as possible.
In-form Anthony Martial peeled wide left and then came infield to tee up Carrasco, who spurned a clear sight when shooting straight at Buffon on 10 minutes. A minute later, Andrea Raggi’s clearance set him away again, but this time a deflected effort was parried behind.
Carlos Tevez drew a low early save from and later volleyed straight at Danijel Subasic, with Juve’s only other notably opening seeing the Argentina international turn provider for Vidal just before the break.
A sensational outside of the boot crossfield pass from Tevez found fellow South American star Vidal, but his second touch let him down. Carrasco continued to cause chaos on the counter after the interval, slipping it across to substitute Bernardo Silva following more direct running.
Monaco’s young Portugal cap worked Buffon from a tight angle instead of squaring back to Carrasco, and a couple of minutes later the visitors were behind.
Chile international Vidal put his penalty right into the top corner and back of the net, and just the sole goal keeps this tie finely poised. Monaco remain in it, however, and did plenty to worry Old Lady manager Massimiliano Allegri ahead of next week’s second leg.