Watch: Gonzalo Higuain, Dani Alves Lead Juventus To 2-0 Win Vs. Monaco In Champions League Semifinals Leg 1
After months of injuries and other setbacks, Dani Alves returned to his fine form on Wednesday by contributing assists to both of Gonzalo Higuain’s goals to lead Juventus to a 2-0 road victory over Monaco in a Champions League semi-final first-leg game.
Gonzalo Higuain, Dani Alves Lead Juventus to 2-0 Win vs. Monaco
Juventus’s first goal came in the 29th minute, on a great run from nearly one end of the field to the other. Brazilian defender Alves fed a pass to Argentine striker Higuain by the mid-field line before racing forward to retake possession of the ball, and then back-heeled a pass to Higuain, who fired a shot past Croatian keeper Danijel Subasic.
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Higuain had not scored in seven Champions League knockout games before Wednesday.
“I fight so hard for these moments,” the Argentine said. “Goals were not coming for me in this competition but I knew I just had to stay calm and keep working hard.”
Higuain struck again in the second half. One minute before the hour-mark, Paul Dybala stole the ball from Tiemoué Bakayoko and delivered a pass to Alves down the right touchline. The Brazilian then kicked a cross to the far post, where an onrushing Higuain one-timed a shot between Subastic’s legs to double the Turin-based Italian club’s lead.
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Alves delivered one of his greatest performances of the season, as did Higuain. Late last November, five months after he transferred from Barcelona to Juventus, the Brazilian defender suffered a horrific ankle injury against Genoa and believed his career would be derailed for a while. The lesion came when Argentine midfielder Lucas Ocampos kicked him in the leg from behind on a race to win ball possession. Alves was carried off on a stretcher.
The Brazilian star, who played with Barcelona for nine seasons and with Sevilla for seven campaigns, was then revealed to have sustained a fractured left fibula, although his injury was then determined to be less severe then initially believed, and Alves — who turns 34 on Saturday — returned after less than three months.
Alves, who had more touches than any other Juventus player on Wednesday (72), nearly scored in the tenth minute when he volleyed a strike just over the head of an unguarded Mario Mandzukic.
Another player who delivered a fantastic appearance on Wednesday was Juventus goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon. The 39-year-old made several key saves, including two brilliant stops in the 13th and 16th minutes on shots from Monaco’s 18-year-old French forward Kylian Mbappé. Mbappe’s second effort came off a hard cross from Nabil Dirar.
Monaco have allowed 18 goals in the Champions League this season, more than any other team among the remaining semi-finalists (Real Madrid and Ateltico Madrid are the other two).
Juventus, who have recorded six straight clean sheets in the tournament for the first time, next host Monaco for the second-leg game on Tuesday (May 9).
Real Madrid will visit Atletico for the second-leg semifinal on Wednesday (May 10). Real won the first-leg game 3-0 at home on Tuesday.
MONACO – MAY 03: Dani Alves of Juventus in action during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between AS Monaco v Juventus at Stade Louis II on May 3, 2017 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
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