Midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko’s thumping header sent Monaco through to the Champions League quarter-final round as the home side beat Manchester City 3-1 on Wednesday to progress on the away goals rule in another pulsating match between two attack-minded sides.
City fought back from 2-0 down and was momentarily in control after midfielder Leroy Sané’s 71st-minute goal. But six minutes later Bakayoko rose imperiously to meet Thomas Lemar’s curling free kick and restore the two-goal margin Monaco needed as the contest finished 6-6 on aggregate.
City coach Pep Guardiola lamented the fact that his side had failed to compete in the first half.
“At this level, you have to play more than 45 minutes. We only played for 45 minutes,” Guardiola said. “The gap between the first and the second halves is there. You ask me why? It’s the same question I am asking myself.”
In Madrid, goalkeeper Jan Oblak made a series of great saves as Atletico Madrid held Bayer Leverkusen to a 0-0 draw on Wednesday and advanced to the quarter-final of the Champions League for the fourth straight season.
Oblak came up big every time Leverkusen got close to his goal, proving crucial for Atletico as it protected its 4-2 first-leg victory in the Round of 16.
Oblak made three spectacular consecutive saves midway through the second half to end Leverkusen’s hopes of overturning the defeat in Germany.
Leverkusen was trying to reach the quarter-final for the first time since it lost to Real Madrid in the 2002 final. The German club was eliminated by Atletico at this same stage in a penalty shootout two seasons ago.
Trailing 5-3 from the first leg of their Round of 16 match, Monaco made the perfect start. Confirming his reputation as a rising star of European soccer, 18-year-old forward Kylian Mbappé scored from close range in the eighth minute for his 11th goal in 11 games.
Brazilian midfielder Fabinho made it 2-0 in the 29th with a crisp shot from near the penalty spot after excellent work by left back Benjamin Mendy.
Three weeks ago, City had rallied from 3-2 down with three goals in the last 20 minutes and Pep Guardiola’s side needed another comeback on the French Riviera.
City played much better in the second half, with Sané scoring after City top scorer Sergio Agüero had missed good chances.
The fleet-footed Sane was one of City’s best players in the first leg and came alive after the break, smashing the ball into the roof of the net after Danijel Subasic’s save from Raheem Sterling’s low shot fell right into his path.
That gave City hope.
But it was not enough, and Monaco’s players rushed to the centre circle to mob each other as the final whistle blew. Their lap of honour was richly deserved, especially considering the side’s goal tally now stands at 126 this season.
“We deserve to qualify over the two games,” Bakayoko said. “We’re very proud, we deserve it.”Report Typo/Error