Juventus's Champions League shutout streak is up to 621 minutes, Gonzalo Higuain bucked his big stage trend and the Serie A club is on the cusp of the Champions League final.
Fresh off blanking Barcelona over a two-legged quarterfinal, Juventus did the same to Monaco in the first leg of their semifinal on Wednesday, riding two Higuain goals to a 2-0 win on the road. Monaco had scored three goals in every knockout game thus far–against the likes of Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund–but veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon weathered an early storm caused by 18-year-old star Kylian Mbappe and Juve saw out the match from there.
Juventus is seeking a return to the final after falling two years ago to Barcelona at the last hurdle, while Monaco hasn't been to the final since 2004, when it fell to Jose Mourinho's Porto.
Mbappe had his first chance come in the 12th minute, with an unmarked header from the center of the box, but one that was directed right at Buffon, who made the simple grab.
Mbappe had another opportunity five minutes later, making a darting run to the near post to re-direct a cross, only to have Buffon cover his post and deny the opportunity.
Juventus took the lead in the 29th minute through Higuain, though Dani Alves did plenty of the lifting. Paulo Dybala played the Brazilian wingback down the right channel, where he held up and then delivered a beautiful back-heel pass into Higuain's path. The star forward made no mistake, hitting a confident, clinical finish by Danijel Subasic before running across the track that surrounds the field to celebrate with Juventus's traveling fans.
Monaco nearly answered immediately after halftime, with Bernardo Silva playing Falcao through in the box with a splitting set-up, only for Buffon to get down and make the save, not yielding a rebound for the Monaco forward.
Juventus doubled its lead through Higuain, whose left-footed volley while going to ground off Dani Alves's cross made it 2-0 in the 59th minute.
Buffon preserved the clean sheet with a tremendous tipped save off a header from Valere Germain, making it six straight Champions League games without conceding–and more importantly, putting Juve on course for the final.