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Monaco sends Man City packing
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 17 - 03 - 2017

Monaco swept into the Champions League quarterfinals and left Manchester City to pick up the pieces of another failed European campaign after a 3-1 victory Wednesday sent it through on away goals.
Monaco needed to overturn a two-goal first leg deficit but French prodigy Kylian Mbappe, Fabinho and Tiemoue Bakayoko scored on a memorable European night for the principality club, which underlined its growing status as one of the continent's most exciting sides.
City, which won the first leg 5-3 in Manchester, was completely overwhelmed in the first half and fell two goals behind, but reacted after the break and Leroy Sane reduced the arrears as Monaco seemed to run out of steam.
Bakayoko, however, headed home in the 77th minute to ensure the Ligue 1 club was celebrating at fulltime after the tie finished 6-6 over two enthralling encounters.
"We deserve this. There is a lot of pride," said Bakayoko, whose goal ensured Monaco are the only French side left in the competition after Paris St Germain was knocked out by Barcelona.
It was the first time City boss Pep Guardiola had been eliminated in the competition's last 16, while City became the first team to exit the Champions League after scoring five goals in the first leg.
City, which has consistently been one of Europe's biggest spending clubs, has now failed to get past the last 16 in four of the last five years.
Leonardo Jardim's team, which was without the injured Radamel Falcao, started brightly and pressed high as Mbappe's pace forced City to sit deep and it did the trick for the underdogs.
In Madrid, Jan Oblak made one great stop. Then another. And another. All within a few seconds.
Oblak's spectacular triple-save midway through the second half helped Atletico Madrid draw 0-0 with Bayer Leverkusen and reach the quarterfinals for the fourth straight season.
"Sometimes you make three saves, and sometimes they score a goal with the first attempt," Oblak said. "It is difficult to explain. I saw the ball and went for it. I reacted quickly and everything went well for me."
Oblak came up big every time Leverkusen got close to his goal, proving crucial for Atletico as it protected its 4-2 first-leg victory in the Round of 16.
Atletico is trying to return to the final after losing to Real Madrid last season. Diego Simeone's team also lost to the city rival in the Champions League final in 2014.
Atletico and Monaco will be joined in Friday's draw for the quarterfinals by holder Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Leicester.
Chinese sides shine
Chinese Super League sides Shanghai SIPG and Jiangsu Suning maintained their perfect start to the Asian Champions League Wednesday, moving a step closer to guaranteeing their places in the knockout phase of the continental club championship.
Andre Villas-Boas' SIPG overcame a late lapse in concentration to inflict a 3-2 defeat on former champion Urawa Red Diamonds, while Jiangsu had former Chelsea star Ramires to thank for a 1-0 victory over Gamba Osaka in Japan.
Western Sydney Wanderers won 3-2 over FC Seoul. Jeju United was held to a 3-3 draw by Australia's Adelaide United.
Al-Ahli of Saudi Arabia and Iran's Esteghlal Khouzestan retain their unbeaten records in the west of the continent as they stand at the summit of Groups B and C respectively, with Al-Ahli sharing the points with last year's finalists Al-Ain from the UAE in an entertaining 2-2 draw in Jeddah to remain in first place.
In other matches, Esteghlal Khouzestan was held to a 1-1 draw by Lekhwiya of Qatar, Al-Fateh of Saudi Arabia beat Al-Jazira of the UAE, Al-Ahli of the UAE drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia's Al-Taawounand Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia was held to a 2-2 draw by UAE's Al-Wahda. — Agencies


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