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Juve use smarts to top Monaco

 By Mina Rzouki

Juventus' versatility will cause Real Madrid problems

The ESPN FC crew preview Juventus' Champions League semifinal match against Real Madrid, as Steve Nicol stresses the importance of Carlos Tevez and Alvaro Morata against Real's defense.

Some of the most epic of games played in the Champions League have been between Real Madrid and Juventus. Similar in philosophy and obsessed with success, there has always been a mutual respect between the two sides, who care more about winning than their style of play. As the draw would have it, two Spanish coaches will face off in one tie, while the Italian tacticians, perhaps the best the country have at this moment, will meet each other in the semifinal of the Champions League.

Before the...

 By Mina Rzouki

Juventus will need to improve for heavyweight date in semifinals

Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri spoke after his side's 1-0 aggregate victory over Monaco in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

After 12 long years of suffering, 12 long years of hardship, struggling with demotion to Serie B, the disgust of mediocrity and the creation of a balanced squad, Juventus are back in the Champions League semifinals.

The quarterfinal second leg performance in Monaco was not what was expected from a team that proved so delightfully technical and tactical in Europe. The squad lacked intensity, composure and attacking ambition. The midfield was incapable of asserting their quality, the forward line...

Juventus in the Champions League semifinals is just like the old days

The ESPN FC crew discuss their dream Champions League semifinal matchups ahead of Friday's draw.

Gianluigi Buffon punched the air and roared -- you could see what it meant to the Juventus captain. Of the current squad, he is the only one who has played in a Champions League semifinal for the Old Lady.

"I thought I wouldn't have to wait as long to get back," Buffon said 12 years on from a famous win in Barcelona, after Juve won 1-0 on aggregate against Monaco on Wednesday night. "But given how hard the road has been to get here, it makes us savour it all the more."

He had been a runner-up in...

Juventus use defence to secure first UCL semifinal spot since 2003

Andrea Pirlo clipped the bar with a superb free kick in what was otherwise a lacklustre draw that put Juventus through to the semifinals.
Andrea Pirlo clipped the bar with a superb free kick in what was, otherwise, a lacklustre draw that put Juventus through to the semi-finals.
ESPN FC's Mark Donaldson breaks down how Juventus were able to hold off Monaco in a goalless draw in France.

MONACO -- Three thoughts from Juventus' semifinal-clinching scoreless draw with Monaco in their Champions League quarterfinal second leg at the Stade Louis II.

1. Juve reach first semifinal since 2003

When you've not been in the last four of the Champions League for 12 years, it really doesn't matter how you get there. Accordingly, Massimiliano Allegri and his soon-to-be Serie A champions will care little for the manner of their besting of Monaco, and even less that this tie was a million miles away...

 By Mina Rzouki

Juventus stand to gain more than a semifinal with a win at Monaco

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol believes the combination of a tight defence and the attack of Carlos Tevez will be enough for Juventus to hold off Monaco in the second leg of their Champions League clash.
The ESPN FC team discuss the second legs of the Champions League quarterfinals. Shaka Hislop expects a classic defensive match from Juventus and a controlled match from Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain.

No longer a dream but an obligation, Italy and beyond expect Juventus to defeat Monaco on Wednesday night. Not only are they the champions of Italy and about to be crowned the same again for the fourth year running, but Juve's experience is greater, their players are better and the style of play is more beautiful.

Progression in the competition will help the club improve on a sporting level, but the financial rewards can hardly be ignored either. The Bianconeri have already made €77.5m...

 By Mina Rzouki

Juve ease past Lazio to warm up for Champions League decider vs. Monaco

Juventus eased past Lazio on Saturday to continue their march towards the Serie A title.

Juventus' 2-0 win at home to Lazio on Saturday night was just the result and performance required to maintain confidence ahead of their Champions League showdown with Monaco.

High-flying Lazio had won eight games on the bounce ahead of the trip to Turin but were comprehensively beaten by an impeccable Juve. Stefano Pioli may be a great coach in charge of a well-balanced team but when presented with a real challenge, Lazio's limitations were exposed.

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Juventus have been a strong side for well over...