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Juventus v Monaco: Moutinho hopeful of another upset

SoccerNews in Serie A 12 Apr 2015

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Monaco midfielder Joao Moutinho says Juventus are favourites for their UEFA Champions League quarter-final clash on Tuesday, despite their Serie A slip-up at the weekend.

The sides meet in Turin in the first leg of their last-eight tie, with Juve heading into the fixture on the back of a shock 1-0 league defeat at the hands of beleaguered basement club Parma.

Monaco, who progressed on away goals in a 3-3 aggregate draw with Arsenal, are on an eight-match unbeaten run in Ligue 1 following a 3-0 win at Caen on Friday.

“Juventus have a great team with formidable players – a compact group who are very organised,” Moutinho told TuttoSport. “We say that they are the favourites, but then Arsenal were also favourites.

“For us it will not be easy, but we will give 200 per cent in order to achieve our goal. We want to play the semi-finals.

“After the semi-finals, we want the final.

“We are young and ambitious. We will do whatever it takes to win. It is an important opportunity we must exploit.

“How? By remaining focused for 180 minutes. Every distraction is likely to be lethal against Juve.”

Prior to Saturday’s loss at Parma, league leaders Juve had suffered just one Serie A defeat all season, while a 5-1 aggregate win against Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 saw them safely into the quarter-finals.

Both sides are seeking a first appearance in the semi-finals in more than a decade, but Monaco’s record of having never won in Italy could make them wary against a Juve side who have won all 10 of their knockout ties against French opposition.

The visitors will, though, be comforted by back-to-back victories in their last two away matches in this season’s competition.

Patrice Evra will come up against his former club if selected by Juve, who have Stephan Lichtsteiner, Alvaro Morata, Roberto Pereyra and Arturo Vidal a booking away from suspension.

Moutinho is one of three players walking the disciplinary tightrope for Monaco, while Jeremy Toulalan limped out of the victory at Caen.

Andrea Pirlo (calf), Martin Caceres (ankle) and Paul Pogba (thigh) – also one yellow card shy of a ban – are all set to miss out for Juve.

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