Vidal gives Juventus the edge over Monaco
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Juventus 1-0 AS Monaco FC
Arturo Vidal's 57th-minute penalty settled a Turin first leg in which both sides carved out, and spurned, some good opportunities.
Article top media content
• Arturo Vidal scores the only goal, converting a penalty 12 minutes into the second half
• The spot kick is awarded for a trip by Ricardo Carvalho on Álvaro Morata
• Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco spurns the visitors' best opportunity
• Monaco's record of never having won in Italy extends to a seventh game
• The second leg will take place at Stade Louis II next Wednesday
Arturo Vidal, from the spot, scored the only goal of an entertaining contest as Juventus established a slender lead to take into the return leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final against AS Monaco FC.
The Chile midfielder converted a 57th-minute penalty, awarded after Ricardo Carvalho had tripped Álvaro Morata just inside the the visitors' area. The result puts Juventus in a decent position to reach their first European Cup semi-final since 2002/03.
The pattern of play was set from the off – Juventus quickly onto the front foot and Monaco, eyeing an opportunity to counter, content to retain their shape. Making his first appearance since 24 February, Andrea Pirlo was soon looking to dictate play, floating a ball to the far post that was volleyed over by Morata.
If a cagey encounter was expected between two teams with the best defensive records in their respective leagues, then the opening exchanges were anything but tentative. No sooner had Carlos Tévez forced a low save out of Danijel Subašić than Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, found by Anthony Martial, fired straight at Gianluigi Buffon.
With Monaco growing in confidence, Ferreira-Carrasco tested Buffon again, his shot deflecting off Leonardo Bonucci. The intensity remained high for much of the half and, as a result, the chances kept coming, the unmarked Tévez displaying a look of disbelief after tamely volleying Claudio Marchisio's diagonal cross into the midriff of Subašić.
The ebb and flow persisted as the interval approached, the ever-dangerous Martial showing his pace as he attempted to outstrip Giorgio Chiellini and, from the next attack, former Monaco left-back Patrice Evra blazing Roberto Pereyra's cutback over the crossbar.
If Ferreira-Carrasco's earlier failure to score was a let-off for the Serie A leaders then Monaco breathed a sigh of relief on the cusp of half-time when Vidal, picked out by a sumptuous Tévez pass with the outside of his boot, drove high and wide with only Subašić to beat.
The Bianconeri continued to force the issue after the restart, yet were almost caught out by a swift Monaco break. Subašić, having collected Pirlo's corner, bowled the ball out to Ferreira-Carrasco, who played in Bernardo Silva, just on for the injured Nabil Dirar. Buffon tipped the midfielder's near-post effort wide.
The breakthrough arrived three minutes later from the spot after Carvalho clipped the heels of Morata as the Spain striker strove to get on the end of Pirlo's searching ball. Vidal did the rest, firing high into the net for his first goal in this season's competition.
Geoffrey Kondogbia served the hosts a warning with a shot from distance that forced the backpedalling Buffon to tip over. Leonardo Jardim sent on Dimitar Berbatov for Monaco's Italian right-back Andrea Raggi with 19 minutes remaining, and the forward soon made his presence felt with a header over from Ferreira-Carrasco's corner.
A goal was not forthcoming, however, though Monaco will take comfort from the fact Massimiliano Allegri's men have lost away to Club Atlético de Madrid and Olympiacos FC this term.