Champions League

Five-star City stun Monaco in first leg

2017-02-22 05:49
Sergio Aguero (Getty Images)

Manchester - Three goals in 11 minutes helped Manchester City come from behind to beat Monaco 5-3 in their Champions League last 16 first leg clash on Tuesday night.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in what was a massively entertaining tie with a close-range finish, ahead of a diving header from the in-form Radamel Falcao.

Young striker Kylian Mbappe then gave Monaco the lead as he volleyed them ahead before Falcao missed a penalty at the start of the second half.

Sergio Aguero fired City level before Falcao chipped the visitors ahead again, but John Stones and Leroy Sane ensured that the Citizens take an interesting advantage into their second leg in France in March.

Monaco started brightly but a quick Kevin De Bruyne counter-attack nearly caught them off guard, only for Sterling to be caught offside as he forced a save from Danijel Subasic at his near post on the right-hand side.

Sane should have done better when he was fed the ball by David Silva after a neat passing move, but the young winger only succeeded in blasting his effort high and wide.

Benjamin Mendy forced Willy Caballero into a low save at his left-hand post after racing on to a square Mbappe ball after the young striker had held up well following another swift Monaco break.

Kamil Glik was soon unable to direct a close-range, near-post header inside the left post after the slightest of touches from Yaya Toure put him off, following a good cross from the right.

Sterling then tapped home a Sane delivery from the left for the opening goal on 26 minutes after a fantastic weaving run and one-two with Silva from the German.

But there was no stopping Falcao from heading home from the edge of the small box from a curling Fabinho cross from  the right on 32 minutes after Monaco had quickly worked the ball forward after a poor clearance from Caballero.

Aguero was then sensationally yellow-carded after being fouled by Subasic in the box as he looked to round the keeper, while Mbappe blazed over as the action immediately swung to the other end following a long ball forward from the keeper.

Mbappe, though, put Monaco into a important half-time lead when he blasted home on the half-volley from inside the box on the right after racing forward onto a quickly-taken pin-point free-kick over the City defence from Fabinho.

And Falcao could only hit the side-netting on the left of City's goal following yet another swift counter from Monaco for the last real piece of action before the break.

The drama continued at the start of the second half as Caballero got down quickly to his right to save a poor penalty from Falcao after the striker was fouled by Otamendi.

And he would rue that miss as Sterling stole the ball off the toe of Thomas Lemar before feeding Aguero down the right-hand side, and the Argentine striker hit a poor shot goalward, only for Subasic to let the ball slip under his outstretched arm.

But Falcao soon made up for his miss as he dragged Stones out of position and had the centre-back on the floor before drawing Caballero out of his goal and exquisitely chipping the onrushing goalkeeper on 61 minutes.

Tiemoue Bakayoko rescued his keeper with a timely header away after a good ball was swung into the area before Sterling thought he had won a penalty after going down under the challenge of Mendy. Falcao then once again hit the side-netting as play swung from end to end.

There seemed no end to the surprises of this game as Aguero volleyed home into the bottom-right corner of the goal from the left of the box in the 71st minute from a great Silva corner from the right.

And unbelievably it was Stones who was next to score as he poked home a Toure knockdown from another Silva corner, to put City into a 4-3 lead on 77 minutes.

Aguero forced a good save from Subasic as City continued to look for more goals against a tiring Monaco; and one duly came through Sane, who side-footed home Aguero's pass from close range.

Caballero denied Falcao his hat-trick when he stuck out a boot in the 85th minute as the action continued deep into injury time, but without any more goals.

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