Wednesday, April 19, 2017 11:20 pm
Monaco reached the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2004 after an impressive 3-1 second-leg performance in the last eight against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
The Ligue 1 side took a 3-2 first-leg lead back to Stade Louis II, where kick-off was pushed back five minutes after Dortmund’s team bus was delayed.
Teenager Kylian Mbappe pounced from close range to increase Monaco’s advantage after three minutes and Radamel Falcao headed in soon after to all but put the tie beyond Dortmund.
The Bundesliga outfit threw on exciting forward Ousmane Dembele and it was a fantastic run from the 19-year-old that set up Marco Reus to lash in after the break.
But substitute Valere Germain scored 21 seconds after coming off the bench for the hosts to secure a 6-3 aggregate win and their spot in the last four.
Leonardo Jardim’s young Monaco side have swept aside all before them in the Champions League this season, entertaining as they go with a brand of fearless, attacking football that the Portuguese boss said before the tie is part of their “DNA”.
The hosts poured forward with ruthless efficiency in the first half, with the pace of Benjamin Mendy and Thomas Lemar creating an overlap on Monaco’s left that Dortmund had no answer to.
It was from his first burst from full-back that Mendy forced Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki to parry a long-range effort into the path of Mbappe, and the prolific teenager finished smartly.
Mendy and Mbappe then combined for Lemar to add his fourth assist of the knockout stages when he set up Falcao for the former Manchester United and Chelsea striker’s 25th goal of the season.
At 31, Colombia forward Falcao is a relative veteran in this Monaco side and his experience in forward play complemented the penetrating runs and powerful dribbling of strike partner Mbappe.
The 18-year-old was particularly effective for Monaco on the counter attack as Dortmund searched for a way back into the tie late on, before his replacement Germain put it beyond their reach.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Monaco will discover their semi-final opponents when the draw is made on Friday, with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Juventus also progressing.