2 games and 14 goals, a night of exciting end-to-end football. And with stakes so high, we spent the night juggling between the two spectacles.
Manchester City Vs Monaco:
Manchester city played the first leg at the Etihad as they welcomed the current Ligue 1 leaders, Monaco. Ex-Liverpool man, Raheem Sterling opened the scoring for Manchester City after Leroy Sane did all the hard work on the left. 6 minutes later, a familiar face in Manchester restored parity for Monaco. Fabinho’s superb cross from the right was treated with utmost respect as Falcao’s diving header beat Caballero. 35 minutes in, Sergio Aguero was brought down in Monaco’s box & was unfairly booked for simulation. 40th minute, Fabinho put a speculative ball over the top which Mbappe smashed into the top-left corner to give Monaco the lead. Early in the second half, Monaco got a penalty which could’ve shifted the tide in Monaco’s favour. But much to the home crowd’s delight, ‘El Tigre’ struck an unconvincing penalty which was saved by Caballero. The miss didn’t seem to affect Monaco much until some nimble work from Sterling played Aguero through & his poor strike was handled even poorly by the shotstopper, 2-2. 3 minutes later Monaco pulled ahead again as a brilliant dinking chip from Falcao beat the oncoming City stopper. A fitting performance to shut all his critics in England. But 3 goals in just 12 minutes for Manchester stole the match & maybe the tie away from Monaco. Silva, who was sensational all night curled a beautiful ball in from the corner for Aguero to finish. The Argentine met it at the back post to cushion a lovely first-time volley to level the scores! 3-3. 7 minutes later, City got the lead as Stones converted from another corner, atoning for his mistake which led to Falcao’s second. The 5th for City was the result of a moment of magic from Silva coupled with Aguero’s unselfishness as he squared the ball for Sane whilst on a hat-trick. The German slotted the ball into the empty net to put the game to bed. A game full of defensive howlers & attacking brilliance. It wasn’t an ideal match but was certainly entertaining.
Manchester City 5 – 3 Monaco
(Sterling, Aguero x2, Stones, Sane) ( Mbappe, Falcao x2)
Bayer Leverkusen Vs Atletico Madrid:
Bayer came into the match looking to repair the damage inflicted by Atleti back in 2015. A penalty shootout was a rather harsh way to go for Bayer that time & this time they couldn’t let that happen. The Germans started the game pretty positively in front of their home crowd, pressing higher up the pitch. But Atleti’s defensive structure kept them at bay. 17 minutes into the half Saul collected the ball at the edge of the opposition’s box, found a small gap and curled the ball home, no chance for the poor goalkeeper. Robben would’ve been proud of that goal. Griezmann struck next after a defensive howler let Gameiro loose & the ex-Sevilla man found his teammate in acres of space. Griezmann doesn’t miss those. 3 minutes into the second half Leverkusen pulled one back after Henrich’s cross found Bellarabi in a pocket of space inside the area. A lovely finish to tuck the ball inside the far post. Gameiro won a penalty next as Dragovic fouled him inside the area. Gameiro thundered the ball down the middle to put the cushion back to 2. 9 minutes later, Brandt’s low driving cross forced Moya to come out who successfully parried the ball which much to Leverkusen’s delight, hit Savic’s knee and rebounded off to the back of the net. 2-3! Carrasco was subbed off for Torres, and 8 minutes later we got to know why. The Spaniard made no mistake converting a superb cross from the right from close range. That ensures a safety net for the away side, scoring 4 & taking a lead of 2 goals to the Calderon. An uphill battle for Bayer awaits.
Bayer Leverkusen 2 – 4 Atletico Madrid
(Bellarabi, Savic(OG)) (Saul, Griezmann, Gameiro, Torres)
Tonight we’ll have the final two fixtures of the round of 16 (first leg) as Porto welcomes Juventus & Sevilla hosts the English champions, Leicester.