21.04.2017 16:00 - in: Champions League S

    Opposition watch: Monaco

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    Europe's tightest defence will be taking on one of the continent's most prolific attacks in Monaco. Here's everything you need to know for next month's Champions League semi-finals
    The Basics

    Founded in 1924, Monaco have won seven Ligue 1 titles, five French Cups and three French Super Cups. 

    They have never won the Champions League, but finished as runners-up to Porto in the 2004 final and reached the semi-finals in 1994 and 1998.

    The Monagasque club, who play in red and white, have only won two out of four semi-finals in UEFA competition: the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1992 and the aforementioned 2004 Champions League campaign.

    Past Encounters

    This will be the third time that Juventus and Monaco face one another in Champions League history and the Bianconeri came out on top in both of their previous meetings.

    In 1997/98, the Old Lady overcame the Red and Whites 6-4 on aggregate: Alessandro Del Piero scored a hat-trick before Zinedine Zidane added gloss late on in a 4-1 thrashing in Turin that put Juve in pole position to qualify for the final.

    Marcello Lippi’s side would finish the job in Montecarlo, despite a 3-2 second-leg loss featuring goals from Del Piero and Nicola Amoruso.

    Only two seasons ago, Arturo Vidal’s penalty in the home first leg proved the difference in a 1-0 aggregate victory for Massimiliano Allegri’s men in the 2015 quarter-finals en route to the showpiece event in Berlin.

    Fighting on three fronts

    This season, Monaco are going strong in three out of a total four competitions in which they started the season.

    They lead the way in Ligue 1 on 77 points thanks to a superior goal difference over Paris Saint-Germain (+63 compared to PSG’s + 46). That largely comes down to the Red and Whites’ remarkable haul of 90 league goals this term.

    Next Wednesday, they will lock horns with PSG in the Coupe de France (French Cup) semi-final, exactly one week before kicking off their Champions League last-four meeting with Juventus at the Stade Louis II in Montecarlo. 

    Monaco also reached the final of the Coupe de la Ligue (French League Cup), losing 4-1 to familiar foes PSG on 1 April.

    European adventure

    It’s been a memorable Champions League campaign so far for Monaco, who finished top of a group containing Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham Hotspur and CSKA Moscow after recording three wins, two draws and a defeat.

    Leonardo Jardim’s side would then play their part in one of the competition’s most exciting matches this season: their last 16 first leg finished 5-3 to Manchester City, but the three away goal scored that night ultimately proved crucial.

    Monaco coach, Leonardo Jardim, has been in charge of the club since 2014.

    Their 3-1 win at the Stade Louis II three weeks later clinched a spot in the Champions League quarter-finals where they were pitted against German giants Borussia Dortmund and another high-scoring double header was in store.

    After claiming the advantage in the tie with a 3-2 away win at the Signal Iduna Park, Monaco finished the job in front of their own fans last Tuesday thanks to a 3-1 scoreline and a 6-3 aggregate victory.

    Filling their boots

    It’s been goals galore for Monaco this season, who have found the net an extraordinary 145 times in all competitions so far.

    The resurgence of Radamel Falcao has played no small part in this statistic, the Colombian forward topping his team’s scoring charts with 27 strikes.

    On the one hand there’s the wealth of experience provided by the former Porto and Atletico Madrid frontman, while on the other Monaco are also benefitting from the almost carefree confidence that oozes from 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe. The teenager has 22 goals to his name in 2016/17, including five in the Champions League knockout stages.

    With 18 different players on the mark this season, it’s fair to say that their high-scoring feats have been a team effort – one of several signs of the harmony and unity that have underpinned the Red and Whites’ high-flying campaign.

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