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Aguero, Sane and Sterling shine v Monaco

OPENER: Sterling celebrates putting City in front

OPENER: Sterling celebrates putting City in front

Manchester City 5-3 Monaco was perhaps the game of the season so far. Here, Club journalist Rob Pollard dissects the major talking points.

1An instant classic

This will go down in the annals of history; a game so open and full of attacking brilliance it was difficult to believe it was a last-16 first-leg tie of such importance. Two teams, buoyed by their recent fine form, going at one another from the off.

Fortunes continually fluctuated as the momentum shifted one way then the other in what was one of the finest Champions League spectacles in a very long time.

It will now take its place alongside the likes of the Liverpool-Milan final of 2005, Monaco’s 8-4 win over Deportivo la Coruna, the 4-4 draw between Liverpool and Chelsea in 2009 and Manchester United’s semi-final second-leg win at Juventus in 1999 as one of the all-time great matches in the competition’s history.

An amazing night that captivated the world over.

2Aguero still City’s talisman

He may have spent a short period on the bench for the first time in his City career, but anyone doubting Sergio Aguero can think again after his display against Monaco.

The Argentine was at the heart of everything. He could have won his side a penalty in the first half but was booked for diving by referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz. 

He scored two – the first of which was City’s 200th European goal – before setting up Leroy Sane for the fifth. This was an all-round contribution that was key to City securing the win.

The kiss from Pep Guardiola as he was substituted in the final moments said everything you need to know about his display.

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3Sane and Sterling

Not only was this a thrilling night for City fans, it provided further evidence of the exciting future Guardiola is creating.

German winger Sane, 21, looks capable of greatness. His brilliant run to set up the opener for Sterling lit up the opening half an hour, and he scored City’s fifth, finishing from close range after a superb team move.

Pace, strength, work rate and the ability to beat players - when he’s confident, defenders can’t get near him.

And Raheem Sterling on the other side offers many of the same characteristics. He was fearless against Monaco, going at defenders time and again and creating space for those around him.

He has now had a hand in 10 goals in his past nine Champions League starts (five goals, five assists), a record that suggests he gives City plenty of end product.

City have two of Europe’s finest young talents.

4Monaco are a class outfit

It took a special performance from City to turn this game around. At one stage, Monaco looked like running away with it.

In Falcao, Kylian Mbappe, Fabinho and, in particular, Bernardo Silva, Leonardo Jardim has assembled a world-class attacking lineup.

5Work to do

City have a two-goal lead and find themselves in a strong position ahead of the second leg – but with three away goals and an attacking unit that has pace, technical quality and goalscoring instincts, Monaco will still feel they can get through.

City cannot afford to allow any complacency to creep into their game. 

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