1 night, 1 game, 2 teams, first tie, then, 8 goals each with a story, 10 yellow cards, 2 penalty shouts, 1 penalty save, 2 awe moments – a pristine Falcao chip right from the archives of greatness and a riveting volley that flew skillfully from Kun’s right foot; 2 forgettable howlers, yet, 2 memorable redemption-s; amazing acres of brilliance covered over 93 minutes by 44 untiring legs; one champion’s league match played indeed by 22 champion players with a truly champion approach; 8 goals! – the highest-scoring first leg ever in a #UCL knockout tie!
Now, merely picture this above in the head, and you’ll agree that indeed, an unbelievable game of football went down in blue Manchester! – Manchester City vs Monaco
Manchester City recorded a 5-3 victory over AS Monaco in this first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie after an astonishing night at the Etihad Stadium.
In a game where Sergio Aguero and Radamel Falcao both scored twice – and Falcao also missed a penalty – City netted three times in the final 20 minutes to establish a potentially-decisive advantage ahead of the return game in Monte Carlo.
The game also featured 10 yellow cards, while a number of questionable refereeing decisions led to what turned out to be one of the classic fixtures in European football’s premier competition.
From the opening whistle, Monaco showed a willingness to get forward in search of an away goal with Thomas Lemar firing an early shot just wide of the target.
City were enjoying some success in the final third but they were not creating any opportunities on goal and when they lost possession, the visitors were surging forward in numbers.
Benjamin Mendy fired straight at Willy Caballero before Kamil Glik headed marginally off target at the back post, and their failure to make the most of their forward play eventually cost them as City went in front.
After David Silva played in Leroy Sane inside the penalty area, the German winger crossed for Raheem Sterling to tap home at the back post.
However, City’s lead was short-lived as six minutes later, Falcao got Monaco back on level terms with a header at the back post after Willy Caballero had sliced a clearance straight to a Monaco player.
Back up the other end, City were controversially denied a penalty when goalkeeper Danijel Subasic appeared to bring down Aguero inside the penalty area, but the forward was instead cautioned for diving.
City were frustrated – none more so than Pep Guardiola on the touchline – but things got worse five minutes later when Monaco completed the turnaround through Kylian Mbappe, who ran clear of Nicolas Otamendi before firing the ball into the roof of the net.
Just three minutes into the second half, Monaco were awarded a soft penalty when Nicolas Otamendi was adjudged to have fouled Falcao when the striker attempted to get on the end of a cross, but Caballero made a comfortable save down to his left.
City were rejuvenated and they were soon level when Aguero finally ended his goalless streak when Subasic allowed his shot to go through his hands and into the net.
The home side were now on top but just after the hour mark, Falcao netted his second in sensational style, first out-muscling John Stones before chipping Caballero from 15 yards out.
It was a goal only usually seen on computer games and what was to come bared little realism as City mounted one of the most scintillating European comebacks in recent years.
With 20 minutes left, a corner from David Silva found Aguero at the back post and the forward connected sweetly with his first-time volley which found the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Monaco tried to hit back and push for a fourth but it was the home side who went ahead through Stones, who was perfectly placed at the back post to tap home after Yaya Toure had flicked on Kevin De Bruyne’s corner.
Guardiola would have probably taken a 4-3 win but his team pushed forward relentlessly and moments after Aguero had been denied by Subasic, he found himself clear on goal before sliding the ball to Sane to tap into the net from inside the six-yard box.
Falcao should have reduced the deficit, netted Monaco’s fourth and completed his hat-trick with six minutes left, only to be denied by a super stop from Caballero, who stuck out a leg to prevent his shot from eight yards finding the corner.
The action finally relented during the closing stages and that suited City, who were able to comfortably see out the remainder of the game to give themselves an opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of the competition for the second successive year.
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