Monaco will be in the quarter final draw in Lyon on Friday after beating Man City 3-1 after another thrilling leg of Champions League Football.
Monaco went into the game knowing that only a win by 2 clear goals would guarantee their progress. They started the game brightly with the magnificent Mendy immediately threatening down the left, whipping in a succession of dangerous crosses.
Caballero saved well on 7 minutes when one on one with Mbappe, although the impressive 18 year old would not need to wait long for his next chance and Monaco’s breakthrough.
Just a minute later Mendy again caused havoc down the left breaking into the box, his initial effort was blocked by Stones but the ball broke to Silva who drilled the ball across the City goalmouth and Mbappe stroked home from close range.
Monaco’s young side continued to swarm all over City with Pep’s side barely able to get out of their own half and on 28 minutes the French side had a deserved 2-0 lead. Again it came from the left with Mendy whipping in a beautiful low cross to Fabinho who passed the ball into the Citizens net from 10 yards out.
Monaco completely dominated the first half, outplaying City in every facet of the game and were a joy to watch, most impressively their best players were youngsters Mbappe, Silva, Lemar and Mendy. Expect to see their names mentioned a in lot of this summer’s transfer news and more than likely, all, if not most, will be playing for heavy weights of the European game come the start of next season.
The level of domination by Monaco in the first half is rarely seen against a Guardiola side and it was obvious that a tactical tweak was needed from the Catalan coach.
Pep’s solution was to take one step backwards to take two forwards. He moved De Bruyne from an advanced midfield role into a more deep lying position beside the isolated Fernandinho. The first 15 minutes of the second half were all about regaining a foothold in the tie and that’s exactly what City did through a combination of Pep’s tactical switch and Monaco’s understandably more conservative approach, due to the knowledge their much desired 2 goal advantage had already been established.
From minute 60 of the game City really began to threaten. Sane and Sterling began to find space in behind the Monaco defence and both missed glorious chances to square to Aguero for tap ins. The normally prolific Argentine cannot complain too much however as he missed missed 3 very presentable chances within a 10 minute period.
On 70 minutes City got their reward for their improved performance when Sane lashed home from 6 yards after Sterling’s left footed shot from the edge of the area was parried into his path by Subašić.
City were now very much in the ascendency and they looked likely to score a second. Until on the 76th minute De Bruyne fouled Fabinho on the left, about 45 yards from goal. Lemar whipped the ball in and Bakayoko got in behind City’s ridiculously high defensive line to smash home a header and put the Ligue Un leaders back in the driving seat.
City pushed on trying to get the goal that would have seen them progress but no real clear cut chances came their way. Monaco progressed on the away goal with the scores tied 6-6 on aggregate after a pulsating 180 minutes of Champions League Football.
Not too many teams will fancy playing this young and vibrant Monaco side and it will be well worth watching them against whoever they get in the quarter final as were ever this Monaco side go, you will be pretty much guaranteed plenty of goals.
Pep was much more accepting and dignified in defeat then we normally see him after a bad result in the Premier League. You suspect he, like most of us, knew even at the start of the season, that this City squad is too weak defensively to compete in the latter stages of Europe’s elite competition.
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