Image: Sports Illustrated

Manchester City staged a remarkable comeback on Tuesday night to secure a crucial two-goal advantage after an epic Champions League last-16 tie against French League One leaders, AS Monaco at the Etihad Stadium.

Super Eagles wonder-kid, Kelechi Iheanacho returned to the bench and was an unused substitute as Pep Guardiola’s men defeated AS Monaco 5 – 3 courtesy of a brace from Sergio Kun Aguero and goals from Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and John Stones.

City took the lead on 26 minute through Raheem Sterling. The England winger slotted into an open net after Leroy Sane’s cross went pass Monaco’s goalkeeper, Danijel Subasic. The lead lasted only six minutes as Radamel Falcao equalized for the visitors through a header.

Kaylian Mbappe put the visitors ahead for the first time in the game five minutes before the break. Mbappe on the night became the second youngest French scorer in the Champions League after Karim Benzema (17 years 352 days) who scored for Lyon against Rosenborg in December 2005.

Falcao missed an opportunity to make it 3 – 1 for the visitors from the spot few minutes after the break. His poorly taken penalty was saved by Willy Caballero. The visitors paid dearly for the miss as Sergio Aguero leveled scores for City about a minute later.

The visitors took the lead again for the second time in the game three minutes later through Radamel Falcao. The Columbian forward who is now back to his best after disappointing loan spells at Manchester United and Chelsea lifted a brilliant chip over Caballero after John Stones’ defensive howler to restore Monaco’s lead. It was his 20th goal in 26 appearances for the French Leaders this season.

Sergio Aguero equalized for City on 71 minute, his second of the night before goals from John Stones (77) and Leroy Sane (82) secured a valuable two-goal advantage for the Citizens. Sergio Aguero ended a run of seven games without a goal with his brace and it was Leroy Sane’s fourth goal of the season. Sergio Aguero’s first goal was Manchester City’s 200th European goal (203 at the end of the game).

The match witnessed 10 yellow cards – the most in a Champions League game this season.

In the second game of the night, last season’s finalists, Atletico Madrid secured a valuable 4 – 2 away victory over Bayern Leverkusen at the Bay Arena in Germany.

Having qualified as Group winners in a group that had Bayern Munich, Diego Simeone’s men were much fancied against Leverkusen and they left no one in doubt as they took control of the game and went ahead in the 17th minute through Saul Niguez.

Seven minutes later, Antoine Griezmann doubled the advantage from Kevin Gameiro’s pass after woeful defending by Leverkusen skipper, Omer Toprak.

Karim Bellarabi pulled one back for the hosts three minutes into the second half but the lead only lasted for 10 minutes as Gameiro scored from the spot to double Atletico’s lead. An own goal from Stefan Savic made it 3 – 2 and the hosts looked to get the third to equalize but was punished later.

With four minutes left in the game, substitute, Fernando Torress made it 4 – 2 to strengthen Atletico’s grip and made the second leg at the Vicente Calderon an easy ride for the Spanish La liga side.

Antoine Griezmann has now scored 11 times for Atletico Madrid since the start of last season’s Champions League, six more than any other player for the club and also overtook Luis Aragones (12) as the club’s highest goal scorer in Champions League/European Cup with 13 goals

Author: Yemi Olarinre