Juventus delivered a professional performance in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie to beat AS Monaco by a 2-0 scoreline.
The Ligue 1 side have been the surprise team in this year’s competition, but it was clear on Wednesday that they didn’t have the experience of the talent of Max Allegri’s side.
The Old Lady triumphed thanks to a Gonzalo Higuain goal in either half, with the Argentine silencing those that doubt his ability to perform in the big matches.
Here are three things we learned at the Stade Louis II…
Juventus have one foot in the final
After the incredible display from Real Madrid last night, the focus was on Juventus to prove they are real contenders to win the Champions League and they did just that.
Monaco have one of the best attacks in Europe, but the Serie A leaders were organised and conceded few clear-cut chances during the game. On the rare occasions they were cut open, Gigi Buffon proved why he is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time with some superb saves.
This team is like a well-oiled machine and on the evidence of tonight, it is clear that they are one of the best teams in Europe.
In attack, the Old Lady have some excellent players and they will always create chances.
Paulo Dybala was great to watch as he was floating across the frontline and linking up superbly with Dani Alves down the right-hand side.
The first goal is one of the best team goals of the season, as it involved two backheels before Higuain fired into the net.
After coming so close to winning the Champions League in 2015, they have continued to improve the starting eleven and they should be favourites heading into the final if they qualify as expected.
Kylian Mbappe showed why he is the most exciting player in Europe
Monaco may have lost on Wednesday, but Kylian Mbappe enhanced his reputation once again with a very impressive performance.
Although he didn’t manage to get on the score-sheet, his movement caused the Juventus defence a lot of problems.
He had two great chances in the first-half. The first came when he got in behind the defence, but he struggled to generate the power required on his headed effort. The second came minutes later as he forced a good save from Buffon.
Despite being only 18, the Frenchman caused a lot of problems for one of the best defences in Europe and that underlined the ability he possesses. There would have been a lot of clubs watching him on Wednesday to see how he performed against a world class team and he did very well.
He completed four dribbles during the match and looked threatening when he reached top speed. It is his movement that is most impressive as he is always in the right place at the right time.
If he delivers a similar performance in the second leg, he will almost certainly be set for a move in the summer to one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Gonzalo Higuain finally delivered in a big game
The Argentine has been criticised over the last few years as he has consistently failed to score goals in big matches. There were key chances that he spurned in the World Cup and Copa America final, which led to many doubting his mentality to produce on the biggest stage.
However, he was the star on Wednesday as he scored twice to put his side in a dominant position. Both goals showed his clinical finishing and they were his first in the Champions League knockout rounds, which puts an end to another unwanted record.
After his incredible record-breaking season with Napoli last year, the only thing missing from Higuain’s career were major trophies.
He has missed out on three occasions with Argentina and he looks determined to make up for that by winning the Champions League this season. The striker won three La Ligas with Real Madrid, but he wasn’t a regular in the team.
To consolidate his position as one of the best strikers in Europe, he needs to fire a team to a major trophy. He was excellent against Monaco and now has momentum to take into the rest of the competition.
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