AS Monaco’s incredible UEFA Champions League adventure continues after a 3-1 defeat of Borussia Dortmund ensured they will be in Friday’s draw for the semi-finals!
A legendary night is what the entire Monegasque people were expecting in the build-up to this second leg, and they got exactly what they wanted! Thanks to a lightning start straight from the top drawer, just as against Manchester City, the Red & Whites took control of proceedings with early goals from Mbappé and Falcao, while Germain fittingly added the symbolic final touch to a wonderful night’s work by the whole team!
MENDY ON THE RAMPAGE!
Both teams came racing out of the blocks at the start of this quarter-final second leg. Straight from the kick-off, the ball found its way to Reus in the Monegasque box, with Bakayoko just managing to get back and avert the danger. Monaco’s response was immediate, as Lemar sent the ball out wide to Mendy, who powered through the German defence on a 40 yards run and thundered a strike towards goal that Bürki could only repel to the feet of Mbappé. The starlet pounced on the gift and side-footed home the opener, becoming the youngest player ever to score five goals in the UEFA Champions League! The Louis-II crowd roared their appreciation for the Red & Whites’ perfect start. Borussia were not cowed, and threatened through Reus a few minutes later, the German side’s skipper meeting a cross from the right on the edge of the box and firing in a shot that Subasic dealt with (10 mins). It was end to end stuff in the early stages, with both sides pouring forward. Falcao was unable to direct a diving header on goal from Touré’s cross (11 mins), while Silva saw another headed effort saved by Bürki after being set up by Mendy (13 mins), before Sahin smacked a free-kick against Subasic’s left post (14 mins)!
FALCAO MAKES IT TWO
With little over a quarter of an hour gone, the Monegasques put together a fine move involving three players down the left, which ended with Lemar finding the head of Falcao on the penalty spot. The Columbian launched himself at the ball and this time gave Bürki no chance (18 mins). It was a textbook move that gave AS Monaco a two goal lead on the night, meaning Dortmund now needed four to turn it around! Moments later, Bakayoko was inches away from a third from Lemar’s corner, but the German defence halted the danger in extremis (23 mins). Borussia were rattled and made their first change on 27 minutes, Dembélé replacing Durm to give his side an extra attacking option. The tactical switch enabled the visitors to see more of the ball towards the end of the first half, but the Monegasque defence calmly dealt with the pressure, Subasic coolly holding a good free-kick from Reus (40 mins). At the break, AS Monaco had one foot in the semi-finals.
REUS PULLS ONE BACK
Dortmund gave themselves a glimmer of hope early in the second half, however, as Dembélé put the ball on a plate for Reus to slam a shot past Subasic and into the top corner (48 mins). AS Monaco were not about to let themselves be overrun, though, and Bürki produced a top-class stop to keep out Touré’s magnificent header (49 mins), before Falcao nodded off target from Mbappé’s fine cross (50 mins). Despite constant Borussia pressure on the Monegasque defence, the home side almost scored again from a counter-attack on the hour mark. As in the first half, Lemar swung in a cross towards Falcao, who this time was just denied by Sokratis (61 mins). Touré then found Mbappé at the far post from the right wing, but he was just unable to reach the ball (63 mins). AS Monaco were taking advantage of their purple patch and Falcao got away from the visitors’ defence and onto a looping through ball, beating his defender and waiting for Bürki to go down but sending the ball over the top when he looked to have done the hard part (64 mins)! Dirar replaced him shortly afterward.
GERMAIN CLINCHES IT FOR MONACO
In the 69th minute, Mbappé and Touré combined, with the young striker running through into space but seeing Bürki deflect his shot behind. The referee missed the goalkeeper’s touch and incorrectly signalled a goal kick. Bürki was in action again to deal with Lemar’s driven effort, with the clock ticking into the final fifteen minutes (76 mins). Dortmund were facing wave after wave of Monaco attacks, and Silva saw a drilled cross turned behind for a corner, which Bakayoko headed just over. Moutinho then looped a ball into the German box for the waiting Lemar who showed perfect control, but just failed to find Mbappé with his pull-back (80 mins). Mbappé himself was withdrawn moments later to a standing ovation from the Louis-II, with Germain coming on in his place. And the substitute would have his moment of glory too, pouncing on Lemar’s through-ball to slide under Bürki and seal it for the Monegasques (81 mins)! It made the end of the game a much easier affair. Subasic pulled off a fine save to deny Aubameyang (85 mins) and Sokratis tackled Silva as the Portuguese midfield was running through on goal (86 mins). The final score on the night was 3-1 to AS Monaco, who had the better chances over the two games. Another wonderful performance from our players, who are now into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League! Daghe Munegu!