|Attempts on target||11||6|
|Attempts off target||3||8|
By Matthew Spiro at the Stade Louis II
AS Monaco FC surged to the top of UEFA Champions League Group C after an astonishing victory against RC Deportivo La Coruña tonight.
Dado Pršo, celebrating his 29th birthday, struck four times for the rampant French team, equalling the individual scoring record for one match previously held jointly by Marco van Basten and Simone Inzaghi. Jérôme Rothen, Ludovic Giuly, Jaroslav Plašil and Edouard Cisse were also scorers for Monaco, whose win set new Champions League match records for the most goals scored by one side and the highest aggregate scoreline, surpassing Paris Saint-Germain FC's 7-2 victory against Rosenborg BK in October 2000.
Monaco were dealt a blow before kick-off when striker Fernando Morientes failed a late fitness test. Concerns that the home side might lack firepower soon evaporated, though, as they took the lead inside two minutes. Manuel Pablo García intercepted Plašil's crossfield pass but his back header did not have enough power to reach José Molina and Rothen stole in to lob the ball in.
It was the perfect start for the French Ligue 1 leaders who seemed determined to avenge their 1-0 defeat at the Riazor a fortnight ago. Monaco goalkeeper Flavio Roma denied Sergio González with a flying save in the ninth minute but the visitors suffered another setback soon after. Lucas Bernardi won possession deep in his own half before advancing and slipping a pass through for Giuly, who showed good composure in dribbling around Molina and guiding the ball into the unguarded net.
The Deportivo defence was struggling to cope with the runs of Giuly, Plašil and Rothen and the buoyant home team looked like scoring almost every time they attacked. Molina had already made a sharp save from Giuly when Monaco scored a third through Pršo. Rothen whipped an inswinging corner over from the right and the Croatian striker headed in unopposed from close range on 26 minutes.
Monaco went four up on the half-hour as Bernardi headed the ball across goal from the right and Pršo again headed in. Diego Tristán then inspired hope of a Deportivo comeback six minutes before half-time when he latched on to José Amavisca's pass before turning and firing a low shot past Roma. Those hopes looked realistic when Lionel Scaloni made it 4-2 on 45 minutes, turning the ball into an empty net after Roma had parried Juan Valerón's fierce shot. But it was Monaco who had the final say in the first half as the energetic Giuly broke the Deportivo offside trap before drawing Molina and setting up Pršo who completed his hat-trick.
Deportivo coach Javier Irureta made two changes at the break, bringing on Pedro Munitis and substitute goalkeeper Gustavo Munúa, but it made little difference to the pattern of the game and Monaco quickly went 6-2 ahead. Plašil played the ball through for Giuly and, though Munúa got there first, his header fell into the path of Plašil who lobbed the goalkeeper from 35 metres. Pršo got his fourth, and Monaco's seventh, in the 49th minute, racing on to Rothen's cutback and taking one touch before rifling the ball past Munúa.
Cissé seals it
Monaco's efficiency going forward was not always matched by their defending however, and Deportivo reduced the deficit again three minutes later when Tristán skipped between two defenders and chipped delightfully over Roma. Cissé put the seal on a glorious night for the principality club when he thundered in a left-footed shot from 20 metres to make it 8-3.
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|Didier Deschamps (FRA)||Javier Iruretagoyena Amiano (ESP)|
|Terje Hauge (NOR)|
|Ole Hermann Borgan (NOR), Arild Sundet (NOR)|
|Brage Sandmoen (NOR)|