Manchester City outgun Monaco in Champions League

Manchester, Feb 22 (IANS) Manchester City came from behind twice to prevail 5-3 over Monaco in an exciting first-leg clash of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 tie.

Monaco posed a stiff challenge for City at the Etihad Stadium here on Tuesday in a match plagued by defensive lapses on both sides, reports Efe news agency.

The first goal of the high scoring encounter came in the 26th minute, as Raheem Sterling put the hosts ahead with a major assist from Leroy Sane.

Monaco’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao marked his return to England after a disappointing English Premier League stint with Manchester United by equalising for the French club in the 32nd minute.

Soon after, referee Mateu Lahoz drew the ire of the home crowd and of City coach Pep Guardiola with an inexplicable decision.

Monaco goalkeeper Subasic brought down Sergio Agüero in the area, but instead of awarding a penalty to City, Lahoz hit the striker with a yellow card for diving.

The visitors took a 2-1 lead in the 40th minute as Kylian Mbappe hammered home a through ball from Fabinho.

Falcao had a golden opportunity to add to Monaco’s advantage just five minutes into the second half after Nicolás Otamendi conceeded a penalty for a poorly timed tackle in the area. But City goalkeeper Wilfredo Daniel Caballero stopped a poor effort by the Colombian from the spot.

A fine pass from Sterling set up Sergio Agüero’s goal in the 58th minute to bring the hosts level. Three minutes later, Falcao made it 3-2 for Monaco, beating Caballero with a masterful chip shot.

Agüero, who returned to the starting XI only recently, scored his second of the night in the 71st minute off a David Silva corner kick to level the score at 3-3.

Another City corner in the 77th minute culminated with a goal by John Stones to put the home team ahead at 4-3.

Four minutes later, with the Etihad crowd still celebrating Stones’ goal, Sane made it 5-3 for City following a move which also involved Agüero and Silva.

–IANS

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