Any thoughts of a cagey Champions League knockout tie were thrown out and replaced by utter slapstick at the Etihad. A thriller ended with Monaco melting in the face of a pulsating comeback by Manchester City, whose own Achilles heel had been their initial undoing. Character shone through, however; who could bet against the same thing happening in the second leg?
MANCHESTER, England -- Three quick thoughts from a wonderful Champions League evening at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City rallied from 3-2 down to defeat AS Monaco 5-3 in their round-of-16 first leg Tuesday.
1. City edge a thriller to keep European hopes alive
If manager Pep Guardiola was hired to bring Champions League glory to Manchester City, he has brought European entertainment in abundance. A ludicrously eventful game saw City conjure victory, by two goals, from the jaws of defeat, but...
The Champions League can sometimes prove to a dull affair. Not Tuesday night. Oh no. Just the 14 goals, incident aplenty as Man City beat Monaco 5-3 and Atletico overcame Bayer Leverkusen 4-2. The night that European football showed it's back!
Things started off quite well. Raheem Sterling netted for City in the first half an hour, while Atletico Madrid went 2-0 up.
Sterling! Brilliant from Sane and SIlva to set him up. 1-0
To suggest that Manchester City and their supporters have a love-hate relationship with the Champions League would perhaps be pushing it too far. Quite simply, there is precious little love for the competition in the blue half of Manchester and it will take more than the visit of AS Monaco on Tuesday to change that.
Theirs is a multi-layered antipathy towards the Champions League and UEFA, which has developed into outright hostility at times. Even the pleading of manager Pep Guardiola earlier...
Watching Manchester City at the moment is a slightly curious business. Up front, they're all speed and vim, rapid passing matched with even more rapid running. A front five of Gabriel Jesus, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Leroy Sane is, to say the least, impressive. You know things are in decent shape when Sergio Aguero is a useful reserve and Kelechi Iheanacho, scorer of six goals in nine starts, can barely get a sniff.
At the back it's a different story. Of the Premier League's...
Manchester City fans were quite rightly very impressed with the way their side performed in their 3-1 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League group stage in November, but the time has come for their team to prove that they have well and truly arrived on the European stage.
There have been moments in the past where it's felt like the club have clicked in the competition, only for them to fall apart under a little bit of pressure in later rounds.