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Monaco: story so far, key players, why they can win

Not many people gave this youthful Monaco team much hope of prolonged progress in the UEFA Champions League, but they have exceeded expectations – and in swashbuckling style.

Kylian Mbappé and Radamel Falcao have led Monaco's line to devastating effect
Kylian Mbappé and Radamel Falcao have led Monaco's line to devastating effect ©AFP/Getty Images

Story so far
Monaco kicked off their campaign in July, overcoming Fenerbahçe and Villarreal in qualifying to book a place in the competition proper. A pair of 2-1 wins against Tottenham underpinned a strong group campaign, and they had already wrapped up top spot when they lost 3-0 at Bayer Leverkusen. Yet it was the sensational round of 16 victory over Manchester City that really caught everyone's attention. They scored three in both legs of that tie, then repeated the trick against Borussia Dortmund to make the semis.

Record this season: P10 W6 D2 L2 F21 A16 (excluding qualifying)

Watch: Monaco stun Manchester City

Pivotal moment
For all their attacking wiles, surely Monaco couldn't overhaul a 5-3 first-leg deficit versus Manchester City in the last 16? The players never doubted it, haring out of the blocks and immediately putting the visitors on the back foot. Within 29 minutes goals from Kylian Mbappé and Fabinho had turned the tie on its head and got Prince Albert II and the rest of the home support to their feet.

Why this is Monaco's year
The beauty of Leonardo Jardim's side, described as "a bunch of mates" by Mbappé, is that they play without fear, like they are playing for fun in the schoolyard. The average age of Monaco's outfield players at the end of the second leg against City was 22 and that youthful abandon means they fear no one and nothing. Shades of Ajax's victorious team of 1994/95.

Main attraction: Radamel Falcao – The Colombia striker, now 31, is still prone to injury but he has developed the happy knack of hitting the ground running whenever fit. He made his 50th UEFA Champions League appearance in the quarter-final second leg against Dortmund and got his 45th goal.

Kylian Mbappé
Kylian Mbappé©AFP/Getty Images

Rising star: Kylian Mbappé – In a squad packed with young talent, the 18-year-old forward's star burns brightest. The 'new Thierry Henry' has notched five times in the knockout phase. In fact, after Mbappé struck early in the Dortmund return match, only Raúl González had more UEFA Champions League goals at his age: 18 years and 120 days.

Unsung hero: Andrea Raggi – The centre-back never quite lived up to his early promise in Italy but his quality has been manifest since his 2012 switch to Monaco. He had started every European fixture this term until the visit of Dortmund.

Top Fantasy points scorers: Thomas Lemar (40)