AS Monaco (+162) vs Manchester City (+187), Draw (+280)
After a thrilling 5-3 win in the first leg, Manchester City will head to Stade Louis II to meet Monaco for the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 matchup on Wednesday, March 15 (3:45 PM ET).
While Manchester City are ultimately in good standing, carrying a two-goal cushion into the second leg, it very nearly wasn’t the case. Raheem Sterling opened the scoring midway through the first half and City were off to a great start. But then a terrible clearance by goalkeeper Willy Caballero allowed Monaco to equalize with a goal by Radamel Falcao. Kylian Mbappé added another for the visitors shortly before halftime.
Monaco entered the second half with a 2-1 lead. The sensible thing would have been to pull back and defend, in particular since they already had two crucial away goals. But, instead, Monaco pressed forward, seeking to extend the lead. And they nearly did. A poor tackle gifted Monaco a penalty, but it was squandered by Falcao.
What happened next is a bit of a blur. Sergio Aguero picked up his first goal, knotting the game at two. Falcao redeemed his missed penalty with another goal, giving Monaco the lead back. Not to be outdone, Aguero responded with his second of the match, once again tying the game. John Stones and Leroy Sane went on to put the game out of Monaco’s reach, and City left Etihad with a 5-3 win.
Monaco now has to win the second leg by two goals if they are going to advance to the quarterfinals. Luckily for them, City are rife with injuries and Raheem Sterling will miss the second leg after he got himself booked for dissent.
Both teams have shown that they are more than capable of attacking, but defensively, they’re a mess. Manchester have struggled to find a decent goalkeeper after manager Pep Guardiola unceremoniously sacked Joe Hart, and have yet to find a suitable replacement on the backline for the perpetually injured Vincent Kompany.
Monaco are terrific on the break and rely heavily on through-balls. It’s a style of play that works remarkably well on Manchester City since their backline is so disorganized. They probably won’t be so reckless in the next round and they’ll be facing a weaker Manchester City side that can still advance with a one-goal setback.
Pick: AS Monaco (+162)