Monaco 3, Manchester City 1 (Agg: 6-6): City suffer European crash as Ligue 1 leaders reach quarter-finals on away goals

Ross McLean
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Tiemoue Bakayoko netted Monaco's clincher (Source: Getty)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola blamed an anonymous first-half performance after his side succumbed to a Monaco fightback and failed to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Despite leading 5-3 from the first leg, Guardiola had promised to attack the Ligue 1 leaders, although there was little sign of that in a tepid opening period for the visitors as Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho seized the initiative for the hosts.

Germany forward Leroy Sane looked to have provided salvation for City, who were semi-finalists last season under Manuel Pellegrini, only for Tiemoue Bakayoko to head the all-important clincher.

Leicester are now England’s sole representatives in the last eight, while City became the first side in Champions League history to lose a knockout tie after scoring five goals in the first leg. The FA Cup is now their only realistic chance of silverware this term.

“We played exceptionally in the second half but in the first we forget to be there,” said former Barcelona boss Guardiola, who has failed to reach the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in his managerial career.

“We are a team that wants to defend aggressively without the ball and in the second half it was much better but it was not enough. Normally we play to a good level but we were not there in the right moment. It happens and we will learn.

“Our team does not have a lot of experience in this type of competition. At this level, you cannot concede the way we did or forget to play in the first 45 minutes, but we had the chances in the second half.

“We will improve but this competition is so demanding. Sometimes we have to be special and be lucky. We were not.”

Monaco struck an early, eighth-minute blow as Bernardo Silva’s low, drilled cross was stabbed home at the near post by teenager Mbappe.

Monaco – Europe’s second-highest goalscorers behind Barcelona – doubled their advantage to lead on away goals shortly before the half hour mark when Benjamin Mendy’s fizzed centre was sidefooted beyond City goalkeeper Willy Caballero by the onrushing Fabinho.

City applied pressure in the second half and were thrown a lifeline on 71 minutes when Sane reacted quickest to Monaco stopper Danijel Subasic parrying a Raheem Sterling effort and rifled high into the net.

But the tie swung decisively towards Monaco six minutes later as Thomas Lemar’s flighted free-kick, taking advantage of City’s extremely high defensive line, was met by Bakayoko, who powered a header past Caballero.