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Monaco's 'fantastic' night

Published: Thursday 22 April 2004, 20.58CET
Didier Deschamps inspired AS Monaco FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final. features

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Published: Thursday 22 April 2004, 20.58CET

Monaco's 'fantastic' night

Didier Deschamps inspired AS Monaco FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.
The UEFA Champions League semi-final first legs were played on Tuesday and Wednesday. rounds up the reaction from the European media.

AS Monaco FC 3-1 Chelsea FC

Fantastic! In a fabulous year, Monaco are writing one of the nicest chapters of French football. After two huge injustices at the beginning of the second half, a ten-man team proved heroic to clinch the victory thanks to Fernando Morientes and Shabani Nonda. (Aujourd'hui en France)

Monaco's 3-1 win was not just a matter of football but because the whole team decided that this match could not end in a different manner. Didier Deschamps managed to transmit the virtues that he showed on the many occasions he injected new life into Les Bleus. It is the aim of anyone creative: to fashion the finished article to look exactly as originally imagined. Deschamps achieved this task. (L'Equipe)

What got into Claudio Ranieri? By introducing a third forward, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, as a substitute when Chelsea were already performing well against Monaco in the semi-final first leg he unbalanced the team to such an extent that it may now fall out of the Champions League. He said that he wanted the extra attacker to prey on opponents who were a man short. It could have worked if Hasselbaink had not missed with an easy header to put Chelsea ahead moments before Fernando Morientes gave Monaco the lead instead but the real mystery rests with Ranieri's wish to adopt a risky strategy at all. (The Guardian)

FC Porto 0-0 RC Deportivo La Coruña

Like José Mourinho said in his pre-match press conference, this semi-final will be decided in the Riazor. We hope for a more inspired Porto that night and a Deportivo side at the same level. The quality of football in this first leg was poorer than expected, especially in the first half. When the Portuguese champions woke up, it was too late, although they were unlucky with that shot against the post by Maniche. But, without doubt, the guilt for this result rests with the Porto players, who couldn't lift themselves last night. For the first time this season, Porto go into the second leg without an advantage, though in their away matches they never lose and always score.(A Bola)

Nothing to write home about and even less for those who were watching from the stands. It is the semi-finals of the Champions League and Mourinho and [Javier] Irureta, two of the more low-profile coaches in the tournament, set out with the same game plan - not to lose the match. These things happen when you want to enter continental football's aristocracy. [Deportivo president Augusto César] Lendoiro has been waiting for this moment for 12 years and could not give two hoots about the stingy image his side projected in Porto - if it means booking a ticket for the final in Germany. (El Correo Gallego)

Last updated: 22/04/04 15.01CET

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