NEWS
Wednesday May 3 2017
Player Ratings: Monaco 0-2 Juventus

Juventus conquered Monaco in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final, but who stood out? Football Italia rates the star performers.

Words: Peter Fernie

Gigi Buffon: 7.5

The World Cup-winning keeper showed all his class yet again. He was a reassuring and calming presence throughout. The veteran made two good saves from Kylian Mbappé in the first half, one in each half from Radamel Falcao and another from Valerie Germain in the 90th minute.

Andrea Barzagli: 6

Barzagli was drafted in at right-back to free Dani Alves further forward and he did exactly that. He didn't look to venture too far forward and left Alves to link up with Paulo Dybala to create danger down the right-hand side. His discipline gave greater protection to Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.

Leonardo Bonucci: 6.5

We've come to expect the best from Bonucci over the last six years and he answered the call for his team again tonight. He stayed focused throughout against the huge threat of Mbappé and Falcao and was quick to spot and deal with any danger. He didn't get it all his own way in the exchanges against the Monaco front pair, but that was to be expected against such a potent duo.

Giorgio Chiellini: 6.5

Like Bonucci, Chiellini had his hands full against this potent Monaco attack, but he was sharp and disciplined throughout while positionally excellent, as ever. Bonucci and he have become fantastic at covering for each other and there is perhaps no better centre-back pairing in the game at present. However, Chiellini didn't cover himself in glory with an elbow on Falcao in the 69th minute, for which he was booked.

Alex Sandro: 6

Along with Mario Mandzukic, he had a very tough assignment against Monaco's excellent right-hand side combination of Nabil Dirar and Bernardo Silva. To Sandro's credit, he coped well and offered a good out ball for Juventus going the other way when the opportunity arose. He is becoming ever more accomplished in a Juventus jersey.

Miralem Pjanic: 6.5

The Bosnian schemer can be pleased with his night's work. He was diligent defensively, while composed and purposeful in possession. Pjanic was subbed in the 89th minute for Mario Lemina, as Max Allegri looked to use fresh legs.

Claudio Marchisio: 6.5

On his return from injury, Marchisio performed admirably for the Old Lady. He was full of running, alert and intelligent throughout. After a fantastic shift had emptied his tank, Allegri decided he had run his race and replaced him in the 81st minute with Tomas Rincon.

Dani Alves: 8.5

Juve's star performer on the night, the Brazilian veteran had a wonderful match. He was excellent in turning defence into attack, combined superbly with Paulo Dybala and provided two wonderful assists for Gonzalo Higuain. His assist for the first goal in particular was spectacular, a perfect back-heel to a gleeful Pipita.

Paulo Dybala: 6.5

Another good night for the gifted young Argentine. Like Alves, he was efficient for Juventus in the transition from defence to attack and was always happy to take the ball in difficult situations. His link up play with Alves is looking ever more promising for Juventus.

Mario Mandzukic: 6

As already mentioned, along with Alex Sandro, Mandzukic had his hands full tonight. The left-sided pair had to work extremely hard to keep the Bernardo Silva dribbles and Dirar crosses to a minimum. The Big Croat is always willing to sacrifice himself for the team, and without that diligence this evening, Juve could have suffered greatly down their left side.

Gonzalo Higuain: 7.5

An excellent display from the Argentine international and one that will perhaps silence a few critics. He led the line intelligently, came back to help out in defence when needed and scored two excellent goals, one with either foot. His critics have suggested he has a mental block in big games, but he gave a strong response to that view tonight. He was subbed in the 78th minute for Juan Cuadrado.

Juan Cuadrado: N/A

Tomas Rincon: N/A

Mario Lemina: N/A

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