UCL: Manchester City fight back to beat Monaco 5-3 in thriller

UCL: Manchester City fight back to beat Monaco 5-3 in thriller
United Bank for Africa

Manchester City twice came from behind to beat Monaco 5-3 in a thrilling encounter in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg on Tuesday.

It was however a result which put Pep Guardiola’s side in a strong position to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring in the topsy turvy tie at the Etihad Stadium with a close-range finish, before ex-Manchester United striker Radamel Falcao headed in an equaliser.

Monaco’s teenage forward Kylian Mbappe then drove into the roof of the net before Willy Caballero prevented the visitors from going further ahead when he saved Falcao’s tame penalty kick.

Danijel Subasic let Sergio Aguero’s tame strike slip past him to make it 2-2 but Falcao’s exquisite chip restored Monaco’s lead.

However, City struck back in a grandstand finish as Aguero volleyed in an equaliser before John Stones tapped in from a corner.

And Leroy Sane added a fifth for the hosts when he fired in from Aguero’s pass.

The win means Monaco will have to score twice without reply in the return leg at Stade Louis II stadium on March 15 to deny City a place in the last eight.

The other round of 16 first leg tie saw Atletico Madrid score four away goals to take charge of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayer Leverkusen with a 4-2 victory.

Saul Niguez gave the visitors the lead with a stunning strike, picking the ball up on the right before cutting inside and curling a left-footed shot into the top corner.

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

Wendell struck his own crossbar in clearing Felipe Luis’ cross and home goalkeeper Bernd Leno twice saved well from Griezmann.

But these were all an indication that Leverkusen were fortunate to go in at the break just two goals behind.

Karim Bellarabi pulled one back for Leverkusen early in the second half by finishing off a slick team move, but Gameiro’s penalty kick restored Atletico’s two-goal advantage.

Thereafter, Stefan Savic’s own goal reduced arrears once again.

Substitute Fernando Torres further strengthened Atletico’s grip on the tie when he nodded in a late fourth.

Newsverge reports that the return leg takes place at the Vicente Calderon on March 15.