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Champions League: Back Juve to blunt Monaco and 'absurd' Ronaldo run to continue

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Juventus and Real Madrid look like they have already booked their tickets for Cardiff but James Horncastle still has some betting angles for you ahead of the Champions League semi-final second legs...

"On Wednesday we have a very difficult game," Simeone said, "Impossible for many, but not for us, nothing is impossible."

Juventus v Monaco
Tuesday 19:45
Live on BT Sport

President Obama was still in office when Juventus last conceded a goal in the Champions League. Let that sink in for a moment.

At this rate the identity of the scorer, Sevilla's Nico Pareja, is destined to become the answer to a head-scratching pub quiz question. If you'd forgotten all about it, don't beat yourself up because Pareja's goal is now almost six months old and it's beginning to feel like a collector's item.

Juventus have played more than 10 hours since then in the Champions League, recording six straight clean sheets and blunting even the sharpest attacks. They shut out Barcelona's MSN in back-to-back games and stopped 146-goal Monaco from scoring at the Stade Louis II for the first time in 18 months.

While by no means a backs-against-the-wall performance, captain Gianluigi Buffon came up big again, as he did in the first leg against Barcelona, making a couple of huge saves from Kylian Mbappé and Valerie Germain. "He's our Cristiano Ronaldo," one of Buffon's teammates said on the flight back to Turin.

In all, Buffon pulled off five saves in his short stay at the ground known as 'the car park', which is the most he's had to make in the Champions League since the end of last season's group stages. Outside of Italy, his performance levels at this late stage of his career really don't get the credit they deserve.

Only Ajax and Inter have ever qualified following defeat in the first leg of a Champions League knock-out tie at home and Monaco look up against it. Clinching their first Ligue 1 title since the turn of the century now seems more of a priority and we saw that in Leonardo Jardim's selection decisions at the weekend. The Portuguese only rested Mbappé and Tieumoué Bakayoko whereas Max Allegri made eight changes to his side even for a game as delicate as the Turin derby.

Juventus have only lost once at the J Stadium in this competition and, more so than Pareja's goal, it feels like an awful long time ago. We're talking more than four years and keeping that in mind take Juventus to keep another clean sheet @ [2.36].


Atletico v Real Madrid
Wednesday 19:45
Live on BT Sport

The last European game and final Madrid derby at the Vicente Calderón could be just the motivation Atletico need to overturn last week's disappointing and distinctly un-Simeone-like 3-0 defeat at the Bernabéu.

Atleti were meek and never once troubled Keylor Navas in the Real Madrid goal. As soon as Cristiano Ronaldo scored, it was as if all their worst nightmares came at once but Diego Simeone insists this tie isn't over.

"On Wednesday we have a very difficult game," he said, "Impossible for many, but not for us, nothing is impossible."

Atleti did beat this Real Madrid side 4-0 at the Calderón two years ago. But, on the flip side, Real's last visit here ended with them inflicting another 3-0 defeat on the Colchoneros. Ronaldo got a hat-trick on that occasion, as he did at the Bernabéu last week.

He has now scored eight goals in his last three Champions League games, which is frankly absurd when you consider they have come against teams like Bayern and Atleti. Ronaldo's evolution into a short-burst penalty box striker with an even more pronounced knack for settling big games is a worrying development at a time of his career when he is supposed to be entering decline.

Fifty-two of Ronaldo's 104 Champions League goals have come in the knock-out stages. Back him to Score Two or more on Wednesday night @ [4.6].


Recommended Bets
Juventus Clean Sheet @ 2.36
Cristiano Ronaldo To Score 2 Goals or more @ 4.6


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