Juventus vs Monaco preview: Old Lady full of confidence to seize semi-final chance

Italian giants have not reached the semi-final since 2003

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The Independent Football

Juventus are within reaching distance of their fourth consecutive Serie A title but a victory at home to Monaco in the Champions League could be even more meaningful.

All great teams must prove themselves in Europe and Juventus’ recent dominance of the Italian league, first under Antonio Conte and now Massimiliano Allegri, has not been reflected in the Champions League.

Juventus have lost their last three quarter-finals in this competition – in 2013, 2006, and 2005 – last reaching the semi-finals when they were runners-up to Milan in 2003.

They may not have another chance this good. Juve face Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco in the quarter-finals and the French side are canny and well-organised but probably the most limited team left in the competition. Monaco have been fighting all season to qualify for next season’s Champions League – they have just climbed ahead of Marseilles into third in Ligue 1 – but Juventus should be able  to overpower them.

That is what Allegri’s team did to Borussia Dortmund in the last-16, with a 5-1 aggregate win which suggested a new confidence and experience in the Italian champions. Soon after that, they won 3-0 at Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia and defender Giorgio Chiellini spoke afterwards of how the team has matured.

“A couple of years ago, aside from the old guard [Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo] there were very few players on this team who could boast international experience and who had a number of big games behind them,” Chiellini said.

“That increased after our participation in the Champions League and Europa League. So we walked out  on the pitch at the Westfalenstadion calm, self-assured  and convinced that we’d have our say.”

That is what this Juventus side has been threatening to do recently. They are not a young team – Buffon is 37, Pirlo 35, Andrea Barzagli 33, Carlos Tevez, who scored twice in the 3-0 win in Dortmund, 31 – and they know they will not get many opportunities better than this.

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