Betting: Monaco’s irresistible force to be stopped by Juve’s immovable object

 
Ben Cleminson
Juventus v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: First Leg
Juventus dominated Barcelona in the last round, keeping two clean sheets on the way (Source: Getty)

It's far from the usual suspects in the second Champions League semi-final this evening, as Monaco host Juventus.

While the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich are near regular fixtures at this stage, both fell in the previous round – meaning this season’s dark horses face each other with a place in the final at stake.

To say Monaco were unfancied this season would be an understatement – they needed two qualifying rounds just to make the groups, where they were seeded a lowly fourth.

However, Leonardo Jardim’s youthful team have blown sides away, scoring 12 times in four knockout matches against Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund.

Read more: Monaco's Jardim fearless over Champions League rivals

They now stand on the brink of a second Champions League final, having finished as runners up in 2004 – the only other time this century they’ve made it this far.

Given their history, Juventus’ attendance here isn’t such a shock – but it is still just their second semi-final appearance since 2003.

Serie A victory this season (they currently sit nine points clear with four games left) will be their sixth league title in a row, and it’s great to see this talented side finally making a mark in Europe.

After losing the 2003 and 2015 finals, it could be the last chance for 39-year-old Gianluigi Buffon to win his first European Cup.

Buffon kept two clean sheets against Barcelona in the quarter-final, and hasn’t conceded in his last five games in this competition.

Read more: Juve stifle Barca in defensive Camp Nou masterclass

If he can shutout Monaco in their backyard tonight – and his side nick an away goal, they’ll have one foot in the final.

I think they can do it – while Kylian Mbappe has made plenty sit up and take notice this year, Juventus surely have the best drilled defence in Europe, and compared to Messi, the 18-year-old will seem small-fry.

Back Juventus at 17/12 with 188BET.

Pointers

Juventus - 17/12 (188BET)

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