By Matthew Spiro at the Stade Louis II
AS Monaco FC produced one of the biggest upsets of the season by recovering from a 4-2 first-leg deficit to defeat Real Madrid CF 3-1 and earn a place in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League on the away goals rule.
A first-half goal from Raúl González had further increased the visitors' overall advantage but two strikes from Ludovic Giuly either side of a goal from Madrid's on-loan striker Fernando Morientes left the Spanish giants stunned.
Monaco had been forced to reshuffle in midfield with Lucas Bernardi and Akis Zikos both missing, so Czech international Jaroslav Plašil moved into the centre to partner Edouard Cissé while Dado Pršo returned alongside Morientes in attack. Madrid, meanwhile, were missing the suspended David Beckham, meaning Borja Fernández joined Guti in midfield.
Patrice Evra and Giuly both had speculative shots blocked early on but Monaco nearly fell behind on 16 minutes. Cissé's square pass was intercepted by Zinedine Zidane and the Frenchman had time to steady himself before producing an exquisite chip that was clawed away by Flavio Roma.
Casillas called upon
Following the scare, the home side's passing became more precise and they threatened to go ahead on 25 minutes when Jérôme Rothen's left-wing cross picked out Giuly, but he miscued a left-foot volley wide. The opening gave Monaco belief and Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas was called into action three minutes later, pushing away Morientes' powerful free-kick that looked destined for the top corner.
Madrid struck first in the 36th minute. There appeared to be little danger when Zidane sauntered forward on the left, but his low pass split the Monaco defence and Raúl stroked the ball into the top corner with his left foot from just inside the area.
The capacity crowd was stunned into silence, but they were roaring again in first-half stoppage time as Monaco drew level. A high ball into the box was headed down by Morientes and Giuly struck a superb volley into the bottom corner from 20 metres.
Buoyed by the goal, Monaco came out firing after the break. Casillas had already made a sharp save at his near post from Giuly when Morientes gave Monaco the lead on 48 minutes. The Spanish striker scored his second of the tie by arcing an accurate header into the top corner after Patrice Evra's raking ball from the left, leaving Monaco just one goal away from a place in the last four.
Roma saved Luís Figo's free-kick at full stretch in the 57th minute but most of the action was at the other end as Monaco poured forward. Hugo Ibarra's searching cross picked out Morientes at the far post but this time the striker's finish was lacking.
Nevertheless, Monaco got the goal their pressure had threatened midway through the second half when Ibarra caused more problems on the right, this time cutting inside and his cross-shot was cleverly flicked in by Giuly.
The nine-times European champions now needed to score to avoid elimination but Monaco continued to look the more threatening on the break, and Gaël Givet’s header from Rothen’s 81st-minute corner bounced back off the post.
Deep into added time, Raúl - who earlier had a header ruled out for offside - had a golden chance to rescue Madrid as he met a cross at the far post, but at full stretch he directed his effort over the bar, and the French side had a famous win and a semi-final meeting with Chelsea FC.
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