UEFA Champions League
Round of 16, First-leg
Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
49′ Falcao Penalty saved
Manchester City came from behind twice to defeat Monaco 5-3 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Radamel Falcao cancelled out Raheem Sterling’s opener in the 32nd minute before Kylian Mbappé put the visitors ahead. Falcao then had a penalty saved by Willy Caballero four minutes into the second-half before an error from Danijel Subašić allowed Sergio Agüero’s tame effort to squeeze through to level the scores. Soon after, Falcao delightfully chipped home to put the visitors ahead once more before three goals in succession from Agüero, John Stones and Leroy Sané sealed an emphatic comeback victory for City.
After a very evenly contested first couple of minutes, the hosts a good chance when Sterling was played through on-goal by Yaya Touré but his effort was smothered by Subašić with the flag already up for offside.
In the 17th minute the visitors went close when Mbappé surged forward to find Benjamin Mendy, who fired an effort that Caballero parried.
A minute later the visitors should have taken the lead when a Monaco corner was flicked-on into the path of Kamil Glik, who unexpectedly headed the ball inches wide.
In the 26th minute the hosts took the lead when Sané’s delivery across the face of goal found Sterling, who tapped home.
However the lead lasted barely six minutes as the Ligue 1 leaders drew level after a misplaced pass from Caballero was seized upon by Bernardo Silva, who found Fabinho, whose fantastic delivery was headed home by Falcao with a fine diving header.
Two minutes later City thought they should have had a penalty when Agüero was sent tumbling under a challenge from Subašić but the referee booked the Argentinean for simulation. The keeper did get a touch on the ball but it was harsh on striker, who was caught by the keeper.
A minute later the Principality-side went close to taking the lead when a long-ball forward from Subašić was flicked-on by Falcao into the path of Mbappé, who fired an effort just over the bar from a tight-angle.
Five minutes later Monaco took the lead when Mbappé latched onto a freekick from Fabinho to fire home across Caballero.
Three minutes later the visitors went close to a third when Falcao fired an effort wide into the side-netting from a tight-angle following a swift-break.
Three minutes into the restart the visitors were given a golden opportunity to extend their lead from the penalty-spot after Falcao was sent tumbling by Nicolás Otamendi in the area as the striker looked to tap-home from a Mendy cross. However the chance was spurned. Falcao stepped-up to see his tame spot-kick saved by Caballero, who guessed right to deny Monaco a third away goal.
The miss was costly as ten minutes later the hosts equalised, albeit hugely fortuitously when Agüero’s tame effort squirmed past Subašić, who let the ball slip past his gloves.
However they were level for barely three minutes as the visitors went in front again through Falcao, who atoned for his earlier penalty that was saved. The Colombian wonderfully kept hold of the ball after a fine pass from Thomas Lemar and beat Stones with ease before terrifically chipping the ball over Caballero and into the back of the net.
Monaco’s lead lasted ten minutes as the hosts drew level for the second time. Poor defending from the visitors from a City corner allowed Agüero to volley home to level the scores.
Six minutes later City went ahead. More lacklustre defending by Monaco from a City corner allowed Touré to flick Kevin De Bruyne’s delivery into the path of Stones, who tapped-home. The goal was his first Champions League goal.
Two minutes later Agüero went close to extending their lead when the Argentine turned his man before firing an effort that Subašić palmed away.
Three minutes later City made it five. Agüero was played through on-goal and had Subašić to beat but he squared the ball to Sané, who took a touch before firing home.
However the drama wasn’t over as the visitors went close to reducing the deficit a minute later when Mendy’s dangerous delivery found Falcao, whose first-time effort was brilliantly saved by the outstretched-foot of Caballero, who prevented the Principality-side from grabbing a fourth away-goal.
The result meant that Manchester City will take a 5-3 lead to Monaco, who have three precious away goals. Should Monaco manage to score two goals without reply in Monte-Carlo, they will go through although City will just need to keep the scoreline low.