Monaco Knocks Man City out of UEFA Champions League

Champions League

Manchester City were knocked out of the Champions League on away goals at the last-16 stage after Monaco’s second-leg victory sealed a thrilling tie at Stade Louis II.

Having lost 5-3 in an extraordinary first leg in Manchester, Monaco dominated the first half and opened the scoring through teenager Kylian Mbappe’s poked finish from close range from Bernardo Silva’s drilled cross.

Mbappe had a goal ruled out for offside and Valere Germain struck narrowly over, before the Ligue 1 side deservedly doubled their advantage on the night via Fabinho’s well-taken strike from inside the area.

City failed to muster any sort of shot in the opening 45 minutes and it took until the 65th minute for Sergio Aguero to force goalkeeper Danijel Subasic into a sharp save.

They forced their way back into the game as Leroy Sane swept in after Subasic parried Raheem Sterling’s low strike – only for the hosts to hit back quickly through Tiemoue Bakayoko’s header 12 minutes from time.

Victory means Monaco join last year’s runners-up Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Leicester City and holders Real Madrid in Friday’s quarter-final draw.

Guardiola gets it wrong

City boss Pep Guardiola had vowed his side would go on the attack in order to finish the job, having gained a two-goal advantage at home.

But while the Spanish coach can boast the best record of any manager in Europe after 100 games, he showed tactical naivety by starting with only Fernandinho in the middle of the park against a side who had already scored 123 goals this season.

Five attack-minded players were deployed in front of the Brazilian midfielder, while Yaya Toure was left on the bench, and it proved a costly move as City were overrun by sharper opponents.

Although they pulled a goal back on the night through Sane – putting them briefly back in front in the tie – the English side never recovered from their poor first-half showing.

Big-money signing John Stones struggled again and Monaco’s winning goal epitomised the fragility of the visitors’ defensive backline, as the impressive Bakayoko was allowed a free header eight yards from goal.

This is the first time in Guardiola’s career that he has gone out of the competition at this stage. He has said his maiden City season will be a failure if he cannot deliver a trophy, but barring a dramatic Chelsea collapse in the Premier League, the Spaniard’s only realistic hope of silverware is now the FA Cup.




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