Commentary

Manchester City-Monaco, an instant classic

Manchester City trailed twice, threatened to go down by two goals when it conceded a penalty kick in the second half, but rallied to beat French Ligue 1 leader Monaco, 5-3, in a wondrous game of attacking soccer. And City manager Pep Guardiola promised more in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 series. Too bad fans will have to wait three weeks.



Sergio Aguero, in Guardiola's doghouse, scored two goals and set up Leroy Sane for the fifth. But City was lucky not to be overrun by Monaco, which features Colombian star Radamel Falcao and a supporting cast of young stars that is the envy of clubs across Europe.

Falcao matched Aguero with two goals but missed a penalty kick, saved by Willy Caballero, that would have put Monaco up 3-1. After Aguero made it 2-2, thanks to some terrible goalkeeper by Danijel Subasic, Falcao made up for his miss with a stunning goal, brushing aside John Stones and chipping Caballero from close range. But Stones made up for his slack defending by putting Manchester City ahead with the go-ahead goal.

It would easy to knock both teams for some bad defending, but both teams were rewarded for their attacking talent. Guardiola rolled the dice and was rewarded by great games from Raheem Sterling, Aguero and Sane.

For the first hour, City threatened to be run off the Etihad Stadium field by Monaco's young team, led by Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva and a pair of young French attackers, Guadeloupe-born Thomas Lemar and Kylian Mbappe, who is so young he wasn't even born when France won the 1998 World Cup.

"We are going to fly to Monaco to score as many goals as possible," Guardiola said. "I would like to see how many teams are able to get a clean sheet against Monaco this season. They have fantastic players."

He said City's only chance in the first leg was to absorb the Monaco pressure and hit back.

"We understood immediately they are going to attack with runs in behind," he said. "It's so, so difficult but we created a lot of chances and I don't know if Monaco have seen a team create as many chances as we did against them tonight. They always arrived with six or seven players and I haven't seen a team attack with so many good players for a long time."
Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications