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Monaco's Wembley win goes according to plan

Bernardo Silva's brilliant solo goal started Monaco on their way to a 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley and he told UEFA.com it was all about Leonardo Jardim's game plan.

Bernardo Silva wheels away after scoring Monaco's first goal
Bernardo Silva wheels away after scoring Monaco's first goal ©AFP/Getty Images

UEFA Champions League nights in North London seem to bring out the best in Monaco.

The French side have visited the English capital twice in Europe's premier club competition since February 2015 and have emerged victorious on both occasions.

The most recent triumph came at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night when the Ligue 1 leaders beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 to open UEFA Champions League Group E, executing Leonardo Jardim's counterattacking game plan to perfection and exacting a measure of revenge for their UEFA Europa League defeat at White Hart Lane last December.

The inspiration for Wednesday's win, however, came from Monaco's 3-1 victory at Tottenham's local rivals Arsenal in the round of 16 early last year.

"Our mental approach to this game was to remember how we beat Arsenal in a big stadium like this one," said Jardim.

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In fact, the stadium on Wednesday night was even bigger than Arsenal’s. Wembley held a Tottenham-record 85,011 fans, but they were stunned into silence after only 15 minutes when Bernardo Silva opened the scoring with a brilliant solo goal to round off a lightning-fast transition.

"I won the ball and tried to shift it onto my left [foot]," Silva told UEFA.com. "Then I just shot as I've done several times before."

Thomas Lemar struck shortly after and, although Toby Alderweireld's header halved the deficit shortly before half-time, Monaco's organised defence withstood the hosts' second-half pressure, allowing few real chances.

"We were a little bit better and deserved this win," said Silva. "We tried to look at how Tottenham would play, to look at their best aspects and their less good aspects. We studied them well and did what the coach asked."

That they executed Jardim's counterattacking instructions to the letter – helped by some wizardry from Silva.

"Of course, we want to get out of the group," said Silva when asked about his side's aims in this season's competition. "But we know that it's a group with very good teams, with four well-balanced teams who are also going to try and qualify."