Juventus
    24.06.2015 21:52 - in: The team S

    One foot in the UCL semi-finals

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    Juventus bounce back from a disappointing defeat in Parma by gaining the edge over AS Monaco in April’s Champions League last eight first leg tie

    A second-half stunner from Jose Mauri consigned Juventus to just their second league defeat of the season, as Parma took the spoils in a Saturday evening 1-0 triumph at the Ennio Tardini on 11 April.

    It was an uncharacteristically quiet night for a Bianconeri side that struggled to establish any sort of rhythm during the 90 minutes contested against a spirited Gialloblu outfit.

    Following a muted first half, Parma brought the game to life with Mauri’s goal on the hour mark, a fine strike into the top corner that left goalkeeper Marco Storari with little chance.

    Massimiliano Allegri threw caution to the wind by introducing attack-minded trio Alvaro Morata, Simone Pepe and Mattia Vitale, but it proved too little, too late as the hosts clung on to the points.

    Speaking to the media afterwards, Storari pulled no punches when analysing the result: “We certainly got something wrong tonight, ours was a poor performance in every respect. It’s a pity because we had prepared well and wanted to keep marching on in the league with three points.

    “We need to stay alert because the league isn’t over until the mathematics state otherwise. Tomorrow we’ll be fired up and hungry to prepare for Tuesday’s game. We’re not used to losing and not playing well, so we’re upset by what happened today.”

    Three days later, Juventus put this disappointment immediately behind them by gaining a Champions League quarter-final first leg advantage from their tie with AS Monaco at Juventus Stadium.

    A lively encounter, played out in front of a wonderful atmosphere in Turin, saw both sides have their chances but the hosts prevail after Riccardo Carvalho’s foul on Alvaro Morata presented an opportunity to convert for Arturo Vidal, who thumped home from 12 yards just ahead of the hour mark.

    The introduction of Andrea Barzagli in place of the returning Andrea Pirlo helped the Bianconeri protect their lead in the face of increased Monaco pressure, meaning they will head to France next week with a useful foothold in the tie.

    Matchwinner Vidal commented: “We’re in the quarter-finals, up against a side who played very well and showed that when facing Arsenal. Winning was all that mattered today and we achieved that.”

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