Champions League Update for May 8

Monday, May 8th, 2017

By Andrew Ryan
Champions Juventus vs. AS Monaco

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Cardiff seems to have its match already set for June. Juventus and Real Madrid were absolutely brilliant in their respective first legs of the Champions League semifinals, and now, AS Monaco and Atletico Madrid feel like they're left to pick up the pieces and be mere sideshows on the road to what should be a finale that is chock full of intrigue.

Juventus vs. AS Monaco – Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET ( FOX Sports 1 )

Technically speaking, Juventus has less wiggle room in its advantage than Real Madrid does. However, playing at Juventus Stadium is a darn near impossible task for AS Monaco. The French side is only 12-4-2 on the road this season in Ligue 1, and though that's a fine mark for sure, it doesn't exude the confidence that it can score the two or more goals necessary to overturn this 2-0 deficit from the Stade Louis II.

Juventus has only conceded two goals once this season at home, and it's been quite a while since it's seen three go past it in Turin with Gianluigi Buffon in the pipes. Buffon and Juve have been fantastic defensively, holding four straight comers to Juventus Stadium scoreless, and over the course of their last three matches in the UCL, they've shut out AS Monaco and Barcelona twice. Needless to say, that's no small feat.

So how does Monaco overturn this disadvantage? Make no mistake about the fact that it's going to be tough. The Red and Whites do have two great offensive stars in Radamel Falcao and Kylian Mbappe, and if moments of individual brilliance count for anything at this level (and they do – for quite a lot, indeed), Monaco isn't dead yet. But to think that it can score two and find a way to keep Juve off the board is a tall task for sure, and this is should be a coronation for the Old Lady.

Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid – Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET ( FOX Sports 1 )

It was a nightmare night at the Bernabeu last Tuesday for Atletico Madrid. The Atleti never got footing in the match, were outplayed from the opening whistle and ultimately embarrassed by their arch rivals from across town by a 3-0 margin. A normally stout defensive team left Jan Oblak in all sorts of horrible positions, and if not for a few really good saves on his part, this could have easily ended up being a 5-0 or 6-0 result.

As it is, it's not an absolutely impossible task for Atletico Madrid to get into the UCL Final, but it's going to take a Hail Mary for sure. If nothing else, the team is going to have to get into a formation which it isn't familiar and doesn't like playing. The Atleti hate playing from behind by even a single goal, let alone three, and that's going to create a situation where they have no choice whatsoever but to push forward and likely use both Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.

For Real Madrid, the goal here is to just not be horrifyingly bad at the back. Zinedine Zidane's answer to that might be to just push for a fourth goal, and if that came, Atletico Madrid would need five to advance, a number that it wouldn't fancy reaching against any of the best sides in Europe.

Sure, having the home crowd at the Estadio Vicente Calderon will help, but if we're being realistic at this point, Real Madrid already has its plane tickets booked to Cardiff for its date most likely with Juventus.

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