Juventus stood firm in the face of unrelenting Real Madrid onslaughts to book a place in the Champions League final, where they’ll face competition favourites Barcelona in Berlin.
Despite dethroning the holders in heroic fashion, the Old Lady has been given little chance of prevailing in the June showpiece, with odds of 4/1 saying they beat Los Blaugrana in 90 minutes next to the 31/50 about Luis Enrique’s men reigning supreme.
The expertise of Italian outfits in events such as this sprinkles value onto Juventus’ underdog price, but when the exploits of their Champions League maestro manager Massimiliano Allegri are considered, it becomes a wager you’d be daft not to back.
Allegri has pitted his wits against Barcelona on plenty of occasions when in command at Milan, faring relatively well all things considered.
The highlight of his skirmishes with the La Liga powerhouse came when his grossly mismatched Rossoneri outfit toppled their Catalan counterparts 2-0 in the last-16 stage of the 2012/13 competition.
Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta et al were not only shut out, but beaten by a ragtag bunch containing Kevin Constant, Cristian Zapata and Giampaolo Pazzini among others.
This isn’t the only impressive feat Allegri has achieved in the competition.
In his first five meetings with Barcelona, the 47-year-old organised his defence to prevent Messi from finding the net in open play, an incomprehensible accolade given the personnel that have comprised his Milan backlines compared to others who have failed to land the identical objective.
Despite the well-documented crisis and standard slips that have devastated Italian football in recent seasons, Allegri’s Milan never once failed to advance beyond the Champions League group stage from the quartet of campaigns he took charge of and last night saw him add Real Madrid to Barcelona and Arsenal on the list of favourites he has usurped in pursuit of Ol’ Big Ears.