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Manchester City beat Monaco in eight-goal thriller

Sergio Agüero marked his return to form as Josep Guardiola's side struck three times in the last 19 minutes to triumph in a sensational round of 16 first leg.

Watch all eight goals! See how Man. City beat Monaco in a classic
Watch all eight goals! See how Man. City beat Monaco in a classic

Manchester City struck three times in the last 19 minutes as they came from behind to beat Monaco 5-3 in a sensational UEFA Champions League meeting.

It had looked like being the visitors' night when ex-Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao, already with a diving header and missed penalty to his name, made it 3-2 with an outrageously impudent chip just after the hour. But the hosts, led by the rejuvenated Sergio Agüero, were having none of it.

Agüero levelled matters with a fine volley, his second of this round of 16 classic, and John Stones atoned for a few slips at the back to put City ahead. Leroy Sané then got in on the act, latching on to Agüero's pass and completing the scoring.

Agüero on Guardiola's half-time inspiration
Agüero on Guardiola's half-time inspiration

In a match not so much open as positively agape, Raheem Sterling's first-half breakthrough and a goal from 18-year-old Kylian Mbappé on his first UEFA Champions League start were almost footnotes. The second leg on 15 March has a lot to live up to.

Key player: Sergio Agüero
Had Gabriel Jesus been fit then Agüero probably wouldn't have started this game! The Argentinian recovered from a first-half yellow card for simulation and profited from Danijel Subašić's mistake for his first goal. His second was a sweet volley, showcasing his fabulous technique, and he capped his vitally important second-half showing with a critical role in the Sané tap-in.

Caballero saves Falcao's spot kick
Caballero saves Falcao's spot kick©Getty Images

City redemption
It was a night of vindication for two Argentinians. Willy Caballero made amends for his error for one goal by saving a penalty and then foiling Falcao late on. And then there was Agüero. Gabriel Jesus's loss was his gain and the striker, back leading City's attack, showed again his love of the big occasion, snapping out of a six-match scoring drought to find the net twice when City needed him. Even after his precise volley he could be seen haring back into his own half to reclaim the ball from a Monaco player.

El Tigre roars back
Falcao's strength of character was as impressive as his exquisite second. Having missed from the spot, as he did against Tottenham in the group stage, El Tigre responded in style. His first goal was a classic poacher's header, his movement played a part in Mbappé's effort, and the in-form 31-year-old looked far more like the striker who terrorised European defences for Atlético and Porto than the one who laboured in the Premier League at Manchester United and Chelsea.

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A star is born? 
The bold move to hand Mbappé his first UEFA Champions League start proved a masterstroke. At ease from the off, the quicksilver teenager was Monaco's most threatening attacker in the first period and took his chance emphatically. A beguiling, confident player, his display will only add to the Thierry Henry comparisons. He is the second youngest French scorer in competition history behind Karim Benzema.

Sterling: It was 'absolutely crazy'
Sterling: It was 'absolutely crazy'

Reporters' views
Simon Hart (@UEFAcomSimonH)
This game was a reiteration, in big, bold letters, of what we knew already about Josep Guardiola's City team. They can play some thrillingly fast and inventive attacking football – but are vulnerable defensively. It seemed they might pay for this vulnerability. And yet instead it was their qualities that won the day – not least the pace and menace of wide men Sané and Sterling – in a thrilling end-to-end contest which underlined their spirit and self-belief as they fought back to triumph in such stunning fashion.

David Crossan (@UEFAcomDavidC)
Monaco thrilled in attack, but the way they conceded the four second-half goals will infuriate boss Leonardo Jardim. Falcao's penalty miss and Subašić's fumble for Agüero's first made it two big mistakes from rare experienced players in this Monaco line-up. While Monaco will rue their errors and lost opportunities, they still have a good chance of progressing, albeit not from as good a position as they might otherwise have occupied.

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