When Manchester City brought in Pep Guardiola as its new manager last summer, expectations were high for the Citizens to advance further in the UEFA Champions League. A strong second-half showing vs. AS Monaco on Tuesday has the Citizens a step closer to a spot in the quarterfinals after a dramatic 5-3 home win.
Man City fought back from 2-1 and 3-2 deficits to build a two-goal cushion heading into the Round of 16 sexond leg in France, and it was Sergio Aguero who led the way, scoring a pair of goals to spearhead a charge that dismantled Monaco’s defense.
It was Manchester City’s defense that looked more likely to be decimated in the early going when 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe-Lottin blasted home a go-ahead goal just before halftime to make the score 2-1 for the visitors. Falcao missed the chance to put Monaco up 3-1 early in the second stanza as his penalty kick was saved by Man City goalkeeper Willy Caballero.
Aguero brought Manchester City level in the 58th minute when Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic failed to stop Aguero’s hard shot despite the fact it was right at him. Monaco responded just three minutes later with the goal of the night when Falcao outmaneuvered John Stones before sending a perfect chip over Caballero’s head to make it 3-2.
Aguero doubled his tally on the day with a 71st-minute volley to make it 3-3, before John Stones tapped home six minutes later to put the Citizens in front. Leroy Sane capped the scoring in the 82nd minute as he tapped home Aguero’s assist for a 5-3 victory for Manchester City.
The current Ligue 1 leaders host Manchester City in the second leg on March 15th, knowing at least two goals will be needed to advance.
ATLETICO HOLD OFF LEVERKUSEN
Atletico Madrid put in a dominant road performance at Bayer Leverkusen to return home 4-2 winners after Tuesday’s first leg in Germany. Saul Niguez’s 17th-minute beauty put the visitors up 1-0 at the BayArena. Antoine Griezmann doubled the visitors advantage eight minutes later as he rifled Kevin Gameiro’s assist off the bar and in.
Karim Bellarabi’s third goal in all competitions three minutes into the second-half pulled Leverkusen to within one. Kevin Gameiro extended Atletico’s lead back to 3-1 in the 58th minute as he finished nicely from the penalty spot. The French striker drew the spot-kick after a poor foul by Aleksandar Dragovic caught the forward. Stefan Savic’s 67th-minute own goal gave Leverkusen a life-line and brought the Germans back to within one. Fernando Torres slammed the door on any comeback four minutes from time, as he headed home his first goal in this year’s competition.
Bernd Leno made three saves for the hosts, while Miguel Moya made two for the winners. Despite being out-possessed 62%-38%, Diego Simeone’s side will be highly favored to advance after netting four away goals in the opening leg.
Atletico hosts Leverkusen at the Vicente Calderon on March 15th in the return leg.
The Round of 16 first legs conclude on Wednesday with Sevilla playing host to Leicester City (2:45 p.m. E.S.T., Fox Sports 1) and Porto hosting Juventus (2:45 p.m. Fox Sports 2).