Champions League Round-Up: Manchester City prevail in eight-goal thriller
Pep Guardiola's side came from behind twice to beat Monaco at the Etihad Stadium22:17 Tuesday 21 February 2017, 22:17 21 Feb 2017
Sergio Aguero proved Manchester City's saviour as the Premier League side came from behind twice to beat Monaco 5-3 on Tuesday evening.
What threatened to be nightmare opening tie for Pep Guardiola's side turned into one of the classic European ties as momentum shifted back and forth between the two sides and saw heroes become villains within minutes.
One hero was City goalkeeper Willie Caballero, who was at fault for conceding possession in the opening half to gift Radamel Falcao his opening goal of the evening. Monaco's high press came into effect well, forcing Caballero to go long with his clearance. The ball dropped in the middle of the park and was fed out wide to Fabinho who whipped in a cross for the Colombian to head home at the back post.
Raheem Sterling had given the home side the lead on 26 minutes after some good work down the left from Sane. He was able to sweep the ball under his feet and feed the ball to Sterling to tap home from close range.
Monaco had pressed and caused the shaky City defence plenty of problems in the opening half, Nicolas Otamendi struggling to deal with simple high long balls. This would be exposed just before the break when 18-year-old Kylian Mbappé latched onto the end of a long ball just before the break and finished high past Caballero.
Champions League debutant Mbappé's pace offered Monaco the ability to put together devastating counter-attacks and gave them more options on the wings.
Monaco's Kylian Mbappe celebrates after scoring his side's second goal and putting Monaco 2-1 up before the break. Image: Dave Thompson AP/Press Association Images
Having been denied a penalty in the opening half when Aguero went down under the challenge of Danijel Subasic, City fans were then disgusted when referee Antonio Mateu awarded the visitors a spot kick at 2-1. Falcao had the chance to kill the game when he stepped up, but his weak finish was held by Caballero.
This proved the turning point of the game and the crowd lifted to get behind their team, in protest of the decision.
Aguero gave them even more to shout about when he got on the end of Sterling slip pass and fired low at the front post. The ball was spilled and squirted into the back of the net to make it 2-2 on 58 minutes.
And while all signs pointed to City in the ascendancy, Falcao sent them right back down to earth just past the hour mark. A long ball upfield wasn't dealt with by Jon Stones who was muscled off the ball. The former Chelsea and Manchester United striker spotted Caballero off his line and dinked the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-2 to the French Ligue 1 leaders.
At this point, it was anyone's game. Both sides had shown an inability to defend sufficiently and both seemed to just throw caution to the wind like teams would in the late stages of a second-leg tie.
Aguero drew the home side level again when a cross wasn't dealt with and found its way to the back post. The Argentine kept his eyes on the ball and drove a sweet low volley into the bottom corner of the net.
It was Stones' turn this time to turn from villain to hero when City once again exposed Monaco's shortcomings from corner kicks. Yaya Toure rose highest to flick it on at the front post and the England defender was at the back stick to poke the ball into the back of the net.
Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring his second goal of the evening. Image: Martin Rickett PA Wire/PA Images
Sané made sure of the victory with a close range tap-in from Aguero's pass in the 82nd minute, allowing the home side to hold out for a massive victory ahead of the second-leg.
Meanwhile tonight, Atletico Madrid took a massive step into the quarter-final of the competition with a 4-2 win away to German side Bayer Leverkusen.
The visitors rushed into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann. Karim Bellarabi pulled a goal back for the home side.
Kevin Gameiro added a spot-kick to his four-minute hat-trick in La Liga last Saturday, but Stefan Savic's own-goal made it 3-2 and kept the German's within touching distance.
Fernando Torres rounded off the scoring for Diego Simeone's side, with four goals to take back to the Vincente Calderon.
Antoine Griezmann celebrats after scoring this evening in the Champions Legaue. Image: Martin Meissner AP/Press Association Images
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