Manchester City’s defensive frailties cost them as they crashed out of the Champions League with a 3-1 defeat at Monaco.
Manager Pep Guardiola named an attacking line-up for the second leg of the last-16 tie but that backfired as Monaco overturned a 5-3 deficit to win on away goals after a 6-6 aggregate draw.
First-half goals from Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho put the Ligue 1 leaders ahead and although Leroy Sane hit back for City, Tiemoue Bakayoko sealed victory with a header 13 minutes from time.
City were lacklustre on the night and Monaco made light of the absence of Radamel Falcao, scorer of two goals in the pulsating first leg, with a hip injury.
Guardiola perhaps got his selection wrong by naming the in-form Yaya Toure on the bench. With Fernandinho the only specialist central midfielder on the field, City were unable to make any impression in that area and Monaco came at them in waves.
That early pressure was quickly rewarded as Mbappe, who had already forced Willy Caballero to make one save, opened the scoring in the eighth minute. City’s defence were cut open as Benjamin Mendy drove in a ball from the left and Mbappe turned in with ruthless efficiency.
Mbappe thought he had claimed a second soon after but his powerful low strike was ruled out for offside.
City struggled to gain possession, made little use of the ball they did get and failed to repel Monaco’s continual raids.
It came as no surprise when they struck again to level the tie just before the half-hour mark. Mbappe again cut the defence open on the left before Mendy crossed and Fabinho made no mistake with a first-time finish.
City’s attacks were few and far between and those they did piece together fizzled out before they reached the box.
It was not until the second half that they started to assert themselves in any way and finally get the previously isolated Sergio Aguero into the game.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a hat-trick of chances came the Argentinian’s way in quick succession but he was unable to take any of them.
He could not be blamed the for the first as Andrea Raggi produced a superb challenge to pinch the ball from his toes as he lined up a shot from Raheem Sterling’s pull-back.
But the striker blazed over moments later following a lightning break by Sane and he was denied by a fine save from Danijel Subasic after smart turn by David Silva.
It did seem, however, that the tide had turned and Monaco were maybe starting to feel the pace after such a high-energy start.
Sane took advantage to put City back ahead on aggregate when he pounced from close range after Subasic palmed out a shot from Sterling with 71 minutes gone.
Yet that good work was quickly undone when poor set-piece marking allowed Bakayoko to thump home a header from a Thomas Lemar free-kick.
City’s hopes drained away and the Stade Louis II, a venue not renowned for its atmosphere, was rocking as the final whistle sounded.
Source – Football365
Manchester City beat Monaco 5-3 at the Etihad on Feb. 21. Here are all the highlights from the Champions League match.
We saw the very best and very worst of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Monaco. In the end, the good outweighed the bad, but my goodness did they push their luck.
City started the match as they have started so many others this term, passing the ball apprehensively around their back line. Willy Caballero was the most wasteful of the back five, misplaying the ball on several occasions, but it seemed City would get more of the space they crave when Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in the 26th minute.
Leroy Sane, excellent all match, beat three Monaco players on the dribble, briefly lost the ball, recollected it thanks to David Silva and passed to Sterling for a simple finish.
Then, as they have so often this season, City’s old failings came back to haunt them. Lazy defending at the back post from John Stones and Bacary Sagna allowed Radamel Falcao, scorer of 22 goals in all competitions this season, space at the back post to head in a Kylian Mbappe cross. The move began with a Caballero giveaway.
Monaco took the lead a little under 10 minutes later, this time after City’s center-backs failed to deal with a routine long ball. Mbappe converted with a powerful finish into the roof of the net.
There was also time amid City’s defensive meltdown for Kevin De Bruyne to play Sergio Aguero clean through on goal. The Argentine appeared to be fouled by Monaco keeper Danijel Subasic, but was instead given a yellow for diving. It was an unfortunate decision — replays showed there was contact — but not unfortunate enough to explain the two goals the Citizens conceded.