An intense start and ability to weather a late storm underpinned Valencia's success, but there was also cause for optimism for UEFA Europa League-bound Monaco.
Article top media content
- Valencia become fifth Spanish team to qualify for group stage
- Monaco's 2-1 comeback win not enough to overturn 3-1 first-leg loss
- Nuno Espírito Santo's side back in group stage after two seasons out
- Santo hints that more players could arrive before end of transfer window
- Group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday at 17.45CET
Valencia CF made history in Monaco, becoming the fifth Spanish side to book a place in Thursday's UEFA Champions League draw – a feat never before achieved by one national association. As a cluster of AS Monaco fans reflected at full time, that was only part of the story.
Intensity meets style
You would have been forgiven for believing that having won the first leg 3-1, Valencia would arrive in Monaco to defend and counterattack. Not a bit of it. They laid the foundations for a powerful chapter of footballing brinkmanship with a powerful and energetic start, forcing the error that earned Álvaro Negredo's cute opener. Although the pace proved impossible to maintain, the message that they were there to strengthen – rather than to preserve – their grip, left Monaco gasping for air.
Using home support
The clichéd '12th man' exists and plays pretty well when called upon! Sensing the struggles that the team in red and white had on their hands, the home contingent decided to get vocal and were soon rewarded with a momentum-switching equaliser on the night through Andrea Raggi. When that energy dipped after the break, back came the fans to spur the team to a winner on the night.
Patience under pressure
Showing the signs of experienced campaigners in UEFA club competition, Valencia refused to panic when the momentum ebbed away from them. Sofiane Feghouli dropped deeper, captain Daniel Parejo was happier to put a foot on the ball and the overall ethos transferred from power to control, showing the style of game management that could serve them well during the group stage.
Leonardo Jardim shuffles his pack
João Moutinho was missing, but Monaco were able to rotate players off the bench in a manner that suggests their forthcoming UEFA Europa League campaign could be a strong one. Thomas Lemar made an immediately impact while the other two substitutes made inelegant but telling touches for Monaco's second goal, forced home by Elderson. The changes contained Valencia during a key period while still enabling a springboard for attack. Such a shrewd approach should still be recognised in the disappointment of the tight finish.
UEFA Champions League trends travel over time
France boss Didier Deschamps was among the crowd at the Stade Louis II, and the never-say-die attitude that he helped instil at the club over a decade ago is alive and well. As with the ASM side that reached the 2003/04 final under Deschamps, this team never know when they are beaten. Although this one ultimately fell just short of emulating famous victories over Chelsea and Real Madrid, it is reassuring that for all the breathless drama, the UEFA Champions League takes it all in its stride with a respectful bow to its own history.