Higuain brace puts Juve in control

UEFA Champions League

Juve survived a bright start from the Ligue 1 leaders to take a one-goal lead into the half-time break, and they scored again just before the hour mark to take command of their last-four match-up with a masterclass defensive display.

The Bianconeri controlled proceedings early on, but Leonardo Jardim's side began to find their rhythm and almost broke the deadlock in the 13th minute.

Nabil Dirar swung in a dangerous cross from the right to pick out Kylian Mbappe, who headed straight at Gianluigi Buffon from six yards out.

Danijel Subasic was called into action moments later at the other end as he made a comfortable save from Mario Mandzukic's looping header at the back post.

But the Principality outfit went close again on 16 minutes when Mbappe drew a sharp save out of Buffon at his near post from Dirar's low cross on the right, and the keeper had to tip Radamel Falcao's header around the left post three minutes later.

Those stops proved crucial as the Serie A leaders made the breakthrough in the 29th minute with a clinical finish from Gonzalo Higuain, who ran onto Dani Alves' backheel on the right to fire into the bottom-left corner of the net from 16 yards out.

Subasic easily gathered Paulo Dybala's 38th-minute free-kick to keep the hosts in the contest at the interval, and they nearly hit back at the start of the second half when Bernardo Silva played in Falcao, but Buffon managed to get down to smother the Colombian's shot in the 46th minute.

Silva then tested Italy's number one with a firm strike from 22 yards out five minutes later, while Claudio Marchisio did well to create a chance for himself soon afterwards and he won back possession just outside the opposition area and forced Subasic into a good save from an angle on the right.

A second away goal put Juve firmly in the driving seat on 59 minutes as Dybala released Alves on the right with a neat flick, and the Brazilian sent in a pin-point cross for Higuain to slide the ball home at the back post.

The home team didn't give up, though, but their attacks were thwarted at every turn by a disciplined Bianconeri defence. Valere Germain had their best chance of the second half at the death when he got on the end of Joao Moutinho's free-kick, but Buffon tipped his header over the bar.