Manchester City crashed out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage after a dramatic second-leg defeat to French side Monaco on Wednesday evening, losing the tie on away goals.
Despite leading 5-3 after a comeback victory at the Etihad Stadium three weeks ago, Monaco got off to a flyer as goals from youngster Kylian Mbappe and Fabinho removed the deficit inside 30 minutes.
The visitors came out a different side after the break however, sustaining intense pressure on the Monaco goal for quarter of an hour before Leroy Sane slotted home from Raheem Sterling’s parried shot, giving City the advantage once again in a topsy-turvy tie.
Yet the pendulum swung Monaco’s way once more, with Tiemoue Bakayoko powering home a header from a wide free-kick to break Manchester City hearts and send them crashing out of Europe.
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Reflecting on his side’s disappointing defeat, Manchester City defender John Stones has labelled ‘very sloppy’ play on Wednesday evening as the key reason for an early European exit.
Speaking straight after the match, the £50 million summer signing said:
“Not up to our standard in the first half. We wanted to correct that but we weren’t clinical enough in both boxes. We didn’t score enough and weren’t defensively solid enough.
“We should have done better and deserve to be in the next round. The gaffer was saying before that the more and more he plays the Champions League it is about the set-pieces. We weren’t solid enough.”
City’s exit means that it’s the first time in Guardiola’s managerial career – during his respective spells at Barcelona and Bayern Munich – that his side has been eliminated before the quarter-final stage.
Away from City’s Champions League disappointment last night, Pep Guardiola’s side will face off against fierce rivals Manchester United in a pre-season friendly in America ahead of next year.
The two sides will take part in the International Champions’ Cup alongside Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Premier League rivals Tottenham in the tournament that takes place during July.
City were meant to play Jose Mourinho’s United side before the current Premier League season, but the clash was postponed – and eventually cancelled – due to a persistent heavy rain in China.
The match in Beijing was part of the ICC competition too, and The Mirror reports that organisers of the annual tournament were keen on re-scheduling the match-up between the two rivals clubs.
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