Monaco secured their place in the Champions League Quarterfinal stage after a 3-1 victory over Manchester City. Monaco obtained a narrow victory on aggregate, based on away goals scored. Man City won the first leg 5-3 after a confident performance in front of their home fans.
Manager Pep Guardioala will be the one most disappointed with the early exit from the competition. It is the first time that one of his teams has not been able to reach at least the Semi finals of the Champions League. Guardiola’s arrival at Manchester was seen as a catalyst towards securing more international success. However, the club will need to wait at least one more season for this to happen.
Monaco started the game two goals behind after the 3-5 defeat in the first leg. Goals from Kylian Mbappé and Fabinho put them 2-0 up with only 29 minutes played. City looked invigorated in the second half and missed two good chances through striker Sergio Agüero. Leroy Sané finally made the pressure count with a goal with only 19 minutes left on the clock.
However, City were unable to maintain the result. Defensive vulnerabilities have plagued the team for most of the season and were once again on display. Tiemoue Bakayoko’s header brought the crucial goal that sees Monaco through to the next phase.
Following City’s defeat, centre-back John Stones criticised his team’s lack of concentration. He believes the sloppiness in defense cost his team a place in the Quarterfinals.
“We were very sloppy, not up to our standard in the first half. We wanted to correct that but we weren’t clinical enough in both boxes. We didn’t create enough chances and we weren’t defensively solid enough in the first half. The second half didn’t reflect the scoreline. We were the City people know from this season. We should have scored more goals.”
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 15, 2017
Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim was overjoyed by the victory. He talked about how his team was well prepared for Manchester City’s playing style.
“I have often dreamt about tonight,. I think that playing against English teams seems to suit us well. We knocked out the second-placed [third] team in the Premier League – this absolutely shows the quality of French football,” the manager told reporters at the post-match press conference.
— Jemerson (@ojemerson35) March 15, 2017