A former Monaco striker, Victor Ikpeba, has told PREMIUM TIMES that he will be rooting for his former side tonight on a revenge mission after his set were ‘robbed’ 19 years ago.
“The first half ended 1-1 but in the second half, two dubious penalty calls for the likes of [Zinedine] Zidane and [Simone] Inzaghi,” Ikpeba started jocularly. Juventus went on to knock out the French side 6-4 on aggregate after winning the first leg 4-1.
Ikpeba’s thinking of that match follows a narrative normally [whether true or false] associated with Juventus, especially in the Serie A, where they get more of the 50/50 calls.
“We had great caliber of players in that team – [Thierry] Henry, [Emmanuel] Petit, [Sonny] Anderson; and we were sure we could go toe-to-toe with a team brimming with superstars.
“They also had Davids and even Nedved was on that team.”
For the match on Wednesday at the Stade Louis II, Ikpeba believes Monaco’s youthful side stand a great chance – he is actually praying that they win and make the final.
“Losing against them in Turin was very painful and even though we won the second leg 3-2, it was already done and dusted in that dubious first leg,” Ikpeba added.
“If they can beat City – if they can beat Dortmund, I know they have a chance to beat Juventus even though it is going to be difficult.
Monaco have scored an average of three goals per game in this Champions League campaign, while Juventus have only conceded twice, and not from open play.
But Ikpeba believes the speed of 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe will trouble the defence of Juventus, which is built on solid experience.
“Juventus defend very well and for them to have eliminated Barcelona [without conceding] shows their defensive mettle,” continued Ikpeba, who scored 55 goals for Monaco over a six-year period and was dubbed the Prince of Monaco.
He continued: “Looking at history, they [Juventus] have always found it tough to beat Monaco, especially at the Stade Louis II.
“The first game would be very crucial. If Monaco can get a very decent result at home, they might just be able to make life difficult for the Italians.”
The match kicks off at 7:45 p.m.
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