- Valencia become fifth Spanish team to qualify for group stage
- Álvaro Negredo's chip builds on 3-1 first-leg advantage
- Andrea Raggi and Elderson efforts set up tense finish
- Nuno Espírito Santo's side back in group stage after two seasons out
- Group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday at 17.45CET
Valencia made it a quintet of Spanish clubs in Thursday's group stage draw but they were pushed all the way in their UEFA Champions League play-off by 2004 finalists Monaco.
Nuno Espírito Santo's team added to their 3-1 first-leg advantage with an early goal from Álvaro Negredo but Monaco grew in stature and forced a grandstand finish through strikes from Andrea Raggi and substitute Elderson. However, they could not force the kind of miracle conjured by the club when coached by the watching Didier Deschamps 13 seasons ago.
Opening with high intensity and no little control, the visitors built on their lead within four minutes. Negredo had significant work still to do when receiving an errant pass from home defender Fabinho but his cute chip on the run offered the brains to match the evident brawn and dropped into the far corner.
Andrea Raggi is delighted with his equaliser for Monaco
Monaco had little option but to force an arm-wrestle in midfield, and their fans responded by lending their passion to the cause. The noise levels were elevated in the 17th minute when the Valencia defence failed to deal with Anthony Martial's cross from the left, allowing Raggi to score from the edge of the box. The first period continued at a frenetic pace. Rodrigo ghosted in at the near post to head wide from Sofiane Feghouli's centre but by that time the visitors were struggling to assert the same superiority as at the start.
With such speed difficult to maintain there was an inevitable lull in proceedings after the break as both coaches brought fresh legs from the bench. The atmosphere was injected back into Stade Louis II as one of those substitutes put Leonardo Jardim's charges ahead on the night; Elderson bundling home from close range after Mathew Ryan could only parry a devilish free-kick delivery.
However, that would be the extent of the comeback and Monaco will now compete in the UEFA Europa League.
Leonardo Jardim, Monaco coach
We conceded an early goal which affected our rhythm, but we had a great second half. We were close – we only needed one more goal. We tried to put Valencia under pressure in the second half, but we couldn't quite make it. I'm happy with my players, who gave their all.
Nuno Espírito Santo, Valencia coach
Today is the realisation of the work done by everybody at the club. Today we are in the Champions League; yesterday we weren't. Decisions will be taken in the next few days regarding new players. I also want to congratulate Monaco, who were very tough opponents. Two Champions League teams were competing tonight and I wish them the best in the Europa League.