Manchester City Player Ratings vs Monaco
Manchester City bounced back remarkably to claim a mind-boggling 5-3 victory over AS Monaco in their first-leg of the UEFA Champions League Rounda-of-16 clash at the Etihad stadium on Tuesday.
In what will be remembered as an all-time classic Champions League encounter, Raheem Sterling gave the Citizens’ the lead early in the first half, finishing from close range, following some brilliant work down the left-side by Leroy Sane. But Pep Guardiola’s side soon surrendered their lead, after Willy Caballero’s poor clearance was capitalized on by the visitors, with Falcao scoring from an excellent diving header. The hosts were left frustrated as striker Sergio Aguero was denied a clear penalty, soon after which Kylian Mbappe put Monaco ahead before the half-time break.
Monaco had a great chance to kill the game off when, soon after the break, Nicolas Otamendi gave away a penalty for a poor tackle on Falcao, but Caballero made amends for his earlier error, stopping the Colombian’s rather weak effort from the spot. City found a spring in their step after that and soon they were on level terms when Sterling sent Aguero through on goal and Daniel Subasic made a meal of what was a simple stop. But three minutes later, the game took another twist as John Stones was harried and bullied by Falcao, before finishing with a sublime chipped effort to put Monaco ahead again.
However, there was still plenty of drama left to be unfolded as Aguero once again scored the equalizer, this time with a lovely left-footed volley and not long after it was Stones’ turn to revive himself as he prodded home at the far post from a corner to put City ahead. Guardiola’s men weren’t done yet though, as some stunning piece of work from David Silva saw Aguero through on goal, before the Argentine pulled it back unselfishly to the excellent Sane to put the game to bed in the 82nd minute. Falcao had one more effort at goal to complete his hat-trick, but was expertly denied by Caballero, giving his team a two-goal advantage going into the second-leg.
In what turned out to be the highest-scoring first-leg knockout tie in the history of the Champions League, let’s assess how each City player fared on the night:
Willy Caballero – 7/10
It was his error which led to Monaco’s equalizer after City had taken the lead, but Caballero redeemed himself in the second half saving a penalty from Falcao and made a few crucial stops at the end to keep the score at 5-3.
Bacary Sagna – 6/10
Brought in deal with Mbappe, Sagna was more often than not drawn into central areas due to Monaco’s attacks on the other flank, leaving full-back Mendy to romp forward, but the Frenchman stuck by his task and did a decent job.
John Stones – 6/10
Did not look comfortable as he was put under constant pressure by the Monaco attackers. Was bullied by Falcao leading to the Colombian’s brilliant second, but Stones did not let it affect him and scored the all-important fourth goal with a fine finish.
Nicolas Otamendi – 4/10
Horrendous. Was easily beaten for pace by the Monaco forwards throughout the night. Mbappe left him for dead in the lead-up to the second goal. Rash going into challenges as well and gave away the penalty as well, but was saved by Caballero’s stop.
Fernandinho – 5/10
Struggled on the left-side of defence with Bernardo Silva, Djibril Sidibe and Fabinho all combining to torment the Brazilian. Two of Monaco’s goals came from his flank and as a result, Guardiola replaced him with Zabaleta in the second period.
Yaya Toure – 6/10
The game just passed by him as he struggled to keep up with the pace of the Monaco players in the middle of the park. However, made a contribution in the final-third, flicking a header for Stones to score the Citizens’ fourth.
Raheem Sterling – 9/10
Scintillating display from Sterling. The Englishman was a constant direct threat for the Monaco defence throughout the match. Showed predatory instincts to get into a dangerous position and score the first goal and set up the second for Aguero. Showed great gusto going forward and defensively as well.
Kevin De Bruyne – 7/10
Tireless display from the Belgian as he worked hard throughout the night to retrieve the ball and get his team going from the midfield, but the quality wasn’t what is expected from him at all times. His dangerous corners led to City’s third and fourth strikes.
David Silva – 8/10
Struggled to get going in the early stages as Monaco were quick to pounce upon him but grew into the game with time. Was involved in the lead-up to the first goal and played a sublime pass to free Aguero in the lead up to the fifth goal. Excellent in the last 20 minutes.
Leroy Sane – 8/10
Wasted a good chance early on in the game, but set up Sterling’s opener with a brilliant dribbling run. Scored City’s fifth goal from close range. While the end product wasn’t always up to the mark, he tormented the opponents throughout with his direct running.
Sergio Aguero – 9/10
So much was made of Aguero’s dip in form and his future at the club, but the Argentine couldn’t have picked a better time to remind everyone of his class. Missed a great chance early on from De Bruyne’s cross, wrongly booked for a dive when he should have been awarded a penalty but brought City level at 2-2 with a first-time strike. Scored the third with a sumptuous volley and set up Sane for the final goal.
Pablo Zabaleta – 6/10
Came on for Fernandinho after the hour-mark and brought in a solid presence at right-back.
Fernando – NA
A Late substitute for Aguero in the 86th minute.
Jesus Navas – NA
Came on with less than a minute of normal time left to play.