MONTE CARLO: Juventus are set fair to reach the Champions League Final in Cardiff on June 4 after two goals from Gonzalo Higuain sank Monaco in the Stade Louis II.
The Argentina centre-forward scored after 29 and 59 minutes on assists from rightback Dani Alves.
Monaco, the most attracting attacking surprises of the competition, found their attack stifled by an experienced defence expertly marshalled by Giorgio Chiellini in front of veteran goalkeeper Gigi Buffon.
The 39-year-old Buffon celebrated his 100th Champions League game for Juventus – the first player to reach this landmark for La Vecchia Signora – with a typically flawless performance.
Buffon notably denied teenager Kylian Mbappe twice early on at the Stade Louis II, before Higuain opened the scoring in the semi-final.
It was a similar story in the second half as Buffon denied Radamel Falcao and then saved at the feet of Mbappe before Higuain concluded a near perfect night for the visitors.
Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said: “Buffon produced some great saves. Our lack of goals is because of him. He produced two or three wonderful saves. Juventus didn’t concede a goal thanks to his efforts.
“We had more possession, we played more in their last 30 metres. But I think that the clinical finishing made the difference. Juventus had three chances and scored two goals. With three chances, we didn’t score.”
Buffon’s efforts ensured a sixth successive European clean sheet for Juve, with only Arsenal (10 in 2005-2006) and AC Milan (seven in 2004-2005) having enjoyed longer runs of defensive perfection.
He also became only the second player to make 100 Champions League appearances for an Italian side and now trails only Paolo Maldini, who played 109 matches for AC Milan.
As for Monaco, it was the first time they had failed to find the net in a home match since November 2015, when they lost 2-0 against Anderlecht in the UEFA Europa League.
The return leg will be played in Turin on Tuesday and the second instalment of the other semi-final will take place on Wednesday, with Real Madrid taking a 3-0 advantage to city rivals Atletico.