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Pršo edges Monaco through

Published: Thursday 11 March 2004, 0.20CET
AS Monaco FC 1-0 FC Lokomotiv Moskva (agg: 2-2, Monaco win on away goals) Dado Pršo earns progress.
Published: Thursday 11 March 2004, 0.20CET

Pršo edges Monaco through

AS Monaco FC 1-0 FC Lokomotiv Moskva (agg: 2-2, Monaco win on away goals) Dado Pršo earns progress.

By Matthew Spiro at the Stade Louis II

AS Monaco FC became the second French club to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals as they defeated ten-man FC Lokomotiv Moskva 1-0 at the Stade Louis II to qualify on the away goals rule, with Croatian striker Dado Pršo missing a first-half penalty but making amends by scoring the game's only goal.

Positive lineup
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, Monaco lined up in an attacking formation, with Togolese striker Shedi Adebayor introduced alongside Fernando Morientes up front and Pršo moving to the right wing. Lokomotiv midfield player Dmitri Khokhlov was ruled out with a back injury but Marat Izmailov passed a fitness test as the visitors started with the same eleven that had finished the match in Moscow.

Monaco momentum
The home side were on the offensive from the kick-off and Morientes had the first attempt on goal in the sixth minute, bursting infield from the right and swerving a shot into the arms of Lokomotiv goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov. Two minutes later Ovchinnikov could only palm away Jérôme Rothen's left-wing cross but Gaël Givet dragged his shot wide from the edge of the penalty area.

Counter threat
However, Lokomotiv soon showed the threat they posed on the counterattack with two rapid breaks. First James Obiorah went on a mazy dribble up the left but Monaco goalkeeper Flavio Roma intercepted his low cross, then Dmitri Loskov slipped Izmailov through but the midfield player lost control.

Penalty drama
The match came to life in the 18th minute when Adebayor was pushed to the ground inside the penalty area as he threatened to pounce on Rothen's cross. However, Pršo's spot-kick was brilliantly saved by Ovchinnikov low to his left and Lucas Bernardi blazed the rebound over. The visiting supporters were still celebrating when their side were reduced to ten men as influential captain Loskov picked up his second yellow card in quick succession.

Resolute defending
Monaco looked to make their numerical advantage count and almost went ahead in the 26th minute as Adebayor broke down the left but the giant forward pulled his shot wide of the near post. The Russian team defended doggedly, however, and for all Monaco's possession, Hugo Ibarra's low long-range drive – safely parried by Ovchinnikov – was the closest the home side came before the break.

Adebayor denied
Monaco looked edgy at the start of the second half, with Adebayor missing a half-chance in the 50th minute, latching on to Julien Rodriguez's deep cross but could only hook his right-foot volley over the bar. It looked as though it would not be the striker's night when his long-range shot narrowly missed the corner flag moments later.

Well-worked strike
But the home supporters' nerves were eased on the hour when Monaco took the lead after a lovely move, Bernardi collecting a return pass in the inside-left channel and crossing low for Pršo to gratefully turn the ball into the bottom corner. The relief around the ground was evident and Monaco, playing with renewed vigour, almost doubled their lead four minutes later. Rothen's left-wing free-kick found Morientes unmarked at the far post and his steered volley was turned round the far post by Ovchinnikov.

Hard-working midfield
Monaco coach Didier Deschamps looked to tighten his side's grip on the game by introducing Edouard Cissé in place of Adebayor with 14 minutes to go, while Winston Parks and Sergei Gurenko came on to give Lokomotiv some fresh legs. The visitors struggled to make an impression going forward, however, as the Monaco midfield closed down quickly and ensured their side's place in the last eight.

Last updated: 10/03/04 23.54CET

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