Max Allegri hailed veteran Gianluigi Buffon as the best goalkeeper in the world after his heroic saves helped Juventus to a crucial 2-0 win at Monaco in the Champions League semi-final first leg tonight.
Buffon made a string of saves to keep the score at 0-0 before Gonzalo Higuain scored two brilliant goals on the break to effectively kill the tie. Buffon had been just as influential in the quarter-finals, saving from Andres Iniesta in Turin when Juve were just 1-0 ahead. They went on to win that game 3-0 and knock Barcelona out.
“On Buffon, what can I say,” Allegri said afterwards. “He is still the number one keeper in the world. In the big matches he makes these performances, as he did against Barcelona.”
Allegri’s counterpart Leonardo Jardim said that Buffon made “two or three unbelievable saves” to keep the game level before Monaco scored.
Both managers agreed that Juventus were the better team and Allegri was delighted with how his players defended in the first half.
“I would say this evening the lads played a beautiful match particularly as they had to defend well,” Allegri said. “It was not easy as they faced players of great talent and pace. In the first 30 minutes we had to manage it well and we did. I am pleased with what the lads did.”
Jardim was proud of his own players, too, though. “I congratulated my players,” Buffon said. “They showed a beautiful image of French football.”
Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev said he had to hope for a remarkable turnaround in Turin on Tuesday, for Monaco to reach the final in Cardiff on 3 June. ”It will be very very difficult but miracles exist in football,” he said. “We must believe in one.”