The first legs of the Champions League Semi-Finals are over, and it’s looking increasingly likely that the two unbeaten sides left in the competition will meet in Cardiff in a repeat of the 1998 final.
The Spanish and Italians are destined to invade the Welsh Valleys come June after Juventus officials started making arrangements for their visit to Cardiff for the Champions League Final after a convincing 2-0 away win in Monaco.
It was an exciting clash with the free flowing French side versus the stoic and resolute Italian defence. Monaco came into this one averaging three goals a game and three points clear at the top of Ligue 1. Juventus arrived unbeaten in the Champions League and having kept eight clean sheets in their previous ten Champions League games, including five on the bounce along with six hours of football against Barcelona.
The hosts started the brighter with Manchester United prospect Kylian Mbappe twice denied by Gianluca Buffon. The Italian became only the second Italian player to appear in 100 Champions League games for the same club alongside Paolo Maldini (AC Milan).
And then the game was lit up with a moment of brilliance.
Juventus broke from the back, Paulo Dybala laid the ball back to Gonzalo Higuain with a cute backheel, the Argentine threaded the ball through to the onrushing Dani Alvez, and the Brazilian backheeled into Higuain’s path who scored with a low shot.
It was the same one-two that sealed the first leg with 30-minutes remaining. A pinpoint Alvez cross found Higuain rampaging into the box at the far post, and a diving volley gave Juventus an unstoppable lead going into the second leg. Juventus have not conceded two goals at home in any competition since April 2013.
And so it seems likely that Juventus are set to appear in their second Champions League final in three seasons in a repeat of the 1998 final which Real won by a goal to nil.
The final of the Champions League is at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on 3 June.
Champions League Winning Odds
Real Madrid -125
Atletico Madrid +4000