Tiemoue Bakayoko’s superb header fired Monaco into the Champions League as daring Monaco progressed to the quarter-finals on the away-goals rule thanks to a 3-1 win at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday.
French prodigy Kylian Mbappe, Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko scored for Monaco on a memorable European night for the principality club, which underlined its growing status as one of the continent’s most exciting sides.
Just as in the first leg, which they lost 5-3 after leading 3-2, they seemed to run out of steam in the second, but Tiemoue Bakayoko, one of five players aged 23 or under to start the game, headed the decisive goal with 13 minutes left.
Monaco, which was without the injured Radamel Falcao, is the only French side left in the competition after Paris St Germain was shockingly knocked out by Barcelona.Having won the competition twice in his time at Barcelona, this is the first time in manager Pep Guardiola’s career that he has gone out at this stage.
Guardiola told BT Sport, “We played an exceptional second half, but the first one we forgot to be there.In the second half we were much, much better but it was not enough. It happens and we’ll learn, we have a team with not a lot of experience in this competition.”
Radamel Falcao, who scored twice in the first leg, failed to recover from a hip injury in time and was replaced by the versatile Valere Germain due to which the French league leaders suffered a blow before kick-off .
Monaco was challenged by Coach Leonardo Jardim to draw inspiration from the side which dumped out Real Madrid en route to the 2004 final, recovering from a 4-2 defeat in the first leg of that year’s quarter-finals before knocking the Spanish giants out on away goals.
18-year-old Mbappe, who has emerged as one of Europe’s most promising talents amid Monaco’s thrilling pursuit of the French title this season, has inspired the hosts.
“Mbappe is the DNA of our club. I am so proud that he is growing so fast,” club vice president Vadim Vasiliyev said.
“What he does at his age is just huge,” former France and Monaco winger Ludovic Giuly said.
Willy Caballero stood tall to repel Mbappe’s crisp early strike as he knifed through the City defence, but the Argentine goalkeeper was helpless as the teenager poked home Bernardo Silva’s driven low cross just a minute later.
City recovered from twice falling behind in the first leg, but the opening goal emboldened Monaco. Lemar fed the ball into the overlapping run of Benjamin Mendy, a reported target of City’s this summer, and the left-back picked out Fabinho to side-foot beyond Caballero.
City finally broke through with 19 minutes left – Sterling broke in from the right and his low shot was palmed away by Subasic, but Sane reacted quickest to thump the rebound into the roof of the net and change the complexion of the tie.
However that merely drew an immediate response from Monaco as Lemar whipped in a devilish free-kick that Bakayoko expertly planted into the far corner to consign Guardiola to a first-ever last 16 European exit.