29.04.2017 11:40 - in: UCL 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. Everything you need to know for week's UCL 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.

      Faring well in France

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

      After a 3-1 victory over Toulouse on Saturday afternoon, they now stand as sole leaders of Ligue 1, three points clear of Paris Saint-German having previously just been ahead of the capital club on goal difference.

      PSG, handsome victors over the principality side in both the Coupe de la Ligue final (4-0) and Coupe de France semi-finals earlier this week, will have the chance to reclose the gap at the top when they travel to third-place Nice on Sunday night. 

      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 thanks to a 3-1 second-leg 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 150 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 28 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 24 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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