Tired Manchester City defence slumps as Monaco marches to UCL quarters
Manchester City crashed out of the Champions League on the away-goals rule after falling 3-1 at the Stade Louis II for a 6-6 aggregate draw with Monaco. Having gone to France with a two-goal lead, despite three away goals for their hosts for the second leg, City should have been in a commanding position. But defensive problems persisted and a lack of clinical finishing cost Pep Guardiola's side, who should have progressed, despite only showing up for 45 minutes on Wednesday.
In defeat, there's not a lot the manager will take from the tie as a positive. His team were able to scrap back into control having lost their lead in the first half, but they quickly relinquished that seven minutes after going 6-5 in front on aggregate.
Where to start? The defence looked tired and on the ropes from the moment the first ball was kicked. The first half was a shambles that Monaco were able to quickly get to grips with, as City passed poorly and wilted under pressure. Guardiola's side created several great chances but couldn't put them away. This season's Champions League campaign has shown up the club's biggest deficiencies -- and it's been a growing problem since 2014.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Credit has to go to Guardiola for rectifying the problem at half-time, but it was a problem of his own creation as he left Fernaindho treading water on his own in midfield. It cost City the first half, and the tie.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 6 -- It was a troublesome night for the Argentinian, who could do little about any of the strikes that beat him. He would probably have expected much better from those in front of him, and a couple of good saves in the first half kept it alive as a contest for longer.
DF Bacary Sagna, 4 -- Both of the first two Monaco goals came from City's right, but the full-back on that side was nowhere to be seen. He struggled all evening, with his input summed up by a late cross that sailed out for a throw-in.
DF John Stones, 5 -- The England centre-back looked about the most competent of City's back four, as he was left isolated time and again as Monaco attacked. However, he could have been stronger on set pieces and a mix-up between him and Aleksandar Kolarov allowed the winning goal.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 5 -- The Serbian could have been stronger in each of the Monaco goals, while Tiemoue Bakayoko managed to slip in between him and his centre-back colleague for the winning goal.
DF Gael Clichy, 5 -- Bernardo Silva had the beating of him throughout the first half, but after the break the Frenchman improved marginally. However, on the attack, it's difficult to shake the feeling that he shirked responsibility in helping Leroy Sane at times.
MF Fernandinho, 5 -- The Brazilian was a shadow of his normal self and was left completely exposed by the tactics in the first half, continually overrun by the hosts. He improved in the second half, as Kevin De Bruyne dropped deeper, but it was far from his usual level.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 4 -- The Belgian is having a very tough time of things at the moment and could desperately do with some time out of the team to recoup to his normally excellent level. He wasted set pieces and his passing was well off kilter.
MF David Silva, 5 -- Where City fans can normally rely on the Spaniard to pull the strings, they were found wanting for the first half as he couldn't get going. Given the chance to drag City back into the game, he was able to create one or two decent opportunities -- but that's as far as it goes.
MF Raheem Sterling, 5 -- Decisions, decisions! The one aspect of Sterling's game that desperately needs improving is the choices he makes on the ball. He dallied in the box when City were chasing the game and a golden chance went begging for it. He was bright in the final half hour, but this was far from his best showing of the campaign.
MF Leroy Sane, 6 -- With three men surrounding him at all times, Sane did brilliantly to find space at times in the second half. He caused Monaco the most problems and got himself a goal, but it wasn't enough as he was let down by a poor team performance.
FW Sergio Aguero, 6 -- It looked as though the Argentinian would be the one to drag City back into the tie, but he couldn't find his shooting boots. One effort was skied, after Sane pinged it at him, another was blocked in a one-on-one, and he might have scored had Sterling found him sooner.
FW Kelechi Iheanacho, NR -- Brought on as a last throw of the dice by Guardiola, he barely touched the ball after replacing Clichy on 84 minutes.
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney