Striker Gonzalo Higuain displayed some worth for his huge transfer fee and Gianluigi Buffon showed he is still priceless in goal as Juventus won 2-0 at Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League football semifinal.

Higuain scored in each half yesterday, doubling his tally from 24 previous matches in the knockout stages.

"Goals were not coming for me in this competition," said Higuain, who cost Juventus 90 million ($98 million) when he joined from Napoli.

"I knew I just had to stay calm and keep working hard."


He did, relentlessly, at both ends of the pitch.

"When you want to win big games, you have to make sacrifices and track back," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said, complimenting his star striker.

He also had special praise for 39-year-old Buffon on the goalkeeper's 100th Champions League appearance for the club.

Buffon made two early saves from Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe with the score 0-0, thwarted top scorer Radamel Falcao with a fine stop just after the break and denied Monaco a lifeline with a stunning finger-tip save over the bar from substitute Valere Germain's close-range header in the last minute.

"He's still No1 in the world," Allegri said. "He is always decisive in the big games."

Little wonder centre back Giorgio Chiellini rushed over to hug Buffon at the final whistle.

"Gigi was perfect," Chiellini said.

Juventus gave a masterclass in how to withstand pressure and then punish on the counter-attack, with both of Higuain's goals coming after good Monaco spells.

"This could become an extraordinary season for us," Allegri said of his team's bid for a title treble.

Higuain pounced in the 29th minute, side-footing home after Dani Alves had latched on to his pass down the right before back-heeling the ball back to the Argentina striker.

The Juventus bench rose as one after Higuain slid in to turn home a deep cross in the 59th minute, with Alves again the provider.

Monaco's vaunted attack was blunted by a solid Juventus defence that has now conceded only two goals in 11 Champions League games.

Monaco attacked relentlessly after the break, with Buffon diving at the feet of Mbappe minutes after his save from Falcao.

"In every game, I want to show that I deserve to play at this level, despite my age," Buffon said.

Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim also praised Buffon.

"With two or three chances, they scored twice, and from the same number, we couldn't," he said. "But that is also down to Buffon. He made two or three incredible saves."

The winners play either Real Madrid or city rivals Atletico, with Real heading into the return leg at Atletico with a 3-0 cushion thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick on Wednesday.