Monaco are through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the second time in three seasons after a sensational comeback at home to Manchester City.
Trailing 5-3 from the first leg, the home team recovered the deficit inside 29 minutes at Stade Louis II but in a last-16 tie that always kept us guessing, that was just the start of the drama. After grimly hanging on for a spell, City looked to have clinched it through Leroy Sané, only for Tiemoué Bakayoko to go down the other end and make it 6-6 on aggregate. Monaco advanced on away goals.
Josep Guardiola had warned that Monaco would likely score at some point. Yet he would have hoped City could hold out longer than the eight minutes it took Kylian Mbappé to reduce the arrears. Things went from bad to worse when Fabinho finished off an intricate move down the left.
City were rocking but emerged from the break much improved. Sergio Agüero squandered two fine chances before the lively Sané fired in with 19 minutes left. That looked like being it, only for one final twist as the unmarked Bakayoko headed in a free-kick.
Key player: Tiemoué Bakayoko
Bakayoko will be suspended for the quarter-final first leg after a booking tonight, and he will be much missed on the evidence of this terrific display. He was a man mountain in midfield during the first half as Monaco seized control and pressed relentlessly. Even better, he was in the right place to direct a superbly placed header past Willy Caballero for the decisive goal.
Monaco potential limitless
It is scary how good these Monaco youngsters might become given the exalted level they already operate at. Andrea Raggi, 32, was the only outfield starter over 26. Eight were under 24. No wonder goalkeeper Danijel Subašić, 32, says he feels like he's at the creche some days. The beauty of this ASM side, described as "a bunch of mates" by Mbappé, is that they play without fear, like they are playing for fun in the school yard.
Sané still learning
This evening highlighted the rich potential of Sané. His blossoming has been a feature of the second half of City's campaign, and here his pace and trickery provided one of the visitors' main threats. As in the first leg, he scored one and set up Agüero for a chance the Argentinian blazed over. Yet, as with all young players, he is still learning. There were a couple of wasted crossing opportunities and his was a half-hearted challenge on Mendy before Monaco's first.
David Crossan, Monaco reporter (@UEFAcomDavidC)
Monaco will have won many new admirers in this tie with their attacking approach, verve and intensity. The first-half showing was as good as anything I've seen from anyone in Europe all season. The "new Thierry Henry" tag sits ever so lightly on Mbappé's shoulders, Mendy had another barnstorming match down the left and some of the defending was truly heroic. The team have shades of the 2004 vintage. Another charge to the final, maybe?
Simon Hart, City reporter (@UEFAcomSimonH)
Guardiola was brought to City to build on last year's semi-final appearance, so to fall short will be hugely disappointing – they will rue their first-half effort. There was no intensity and they couldn't cope with Monaco's pressing. When they did step up a gear after the restart they took control and Agüero could have scored twice. Instead – a recurring theme of this season – they switched off at a set piece, gave away a free header and their hopes went up in smoke.
©UEFA.com 1998-2011. All rights reserved.