Champions League

UCL: Look Out Madrid And Juventus, Here Comes AS Monaco

MONACO, MONACO - APRIL 19: Captain Radamel Falcao of AS Monaco celebrates the victory with teammattes after the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final second leg between AS Monaco and Borussia Dortmund at Stade Louis II on April 19, 2017 in Monaco, Monaco. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images )
UCL: Look Out Madrid And Juventus, Here Comes AS Monaco

Cool. Calm. Professional. Clinical. Super Effective. Not even these superlatives, though respectable in every way in every day, can describe what has been a campaign to see and believe for the brave men of Leonardo Jardim’s Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club, owned by Mr. Dmitry Rybolovlev? and the House of Grimaldi, led by His Serene Highness, Prince Albert.

Fueled by the once and future King of the World in Kylian Mbappe, and spearheaded by a capable list of stars such as Valere Germain, Bernardo Silva, Radamel Falcao, Thomas Lemar and Brazilian kingpin known as Fabinho, AS Monaco wasted no time in putting Thomas Tuchel’s embattled Borussia Dortmund in line and to the sword, smashing the doomed BVB to the tune of 3-1 en routed to comprehensive 6-3 aggregate decision in the quarterfinals of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League.

 

Mbappe opened proceedings in the third minute of play and Falcao got on the score sheet 17 minutes in before a packed house at the fortress known as the Stade Louis II. Marco Reus asked the question on 48 minutes but it was one-way traffic, and Germain, the former OGC Nice triggerman, would slam the door shut on 81 minutes.

Dortmund could be losing Tuchel as their gaffer if they do not eliminate Bayern Munich next week in the DFB-Pokal. It has been a pedestrian season for Dortmund and a number players could be on their way out due to substandard performances on the home front. In this contest, they won possession (62% to 38%), passing accuracy (85% to 70%), passes (653 to 296), and passes completed (572 to 207).

 

Monaco have been known all year for their smart shot selection and defending, as seen in their shots on target (nine to seven), shots off target (five to three), corners (five to three), balls recovered (49 to 41) and clearances (30 to 14). The quality of football from this Monaco side has scouts and the competition queueing up to snatch the major players and make them integral pieces to next season’s efforts domestically and internationally.

 

So who should Monaco face in the next round? Real Madrid would be the worst-case scenario, and a win over the defending champions of Europe would be an even bigger upset than Barcelona dispatching Paris Saint-Germain. (PSG and Monaco take on each other in the Coupe de France next week.) Juventus would be an equally tall task, as they were able to hold Barcelona scoreless the entire 180 minutes and stoppage time in their quarterfinal.

The best case scenario is for Atletico Madrid to be Monaco’s next opponent. They are currently third in La Liga and they were sternly test by Leicester City in a aggregate that saw them prevail over the Foxes 2-1 after a 1-1 draw at the Vicente Calderon. An unimpressive effort against a struggling Premier League side means that Atletico have all to do against a free-scoring team with a chronic inability to lose matches. The semifinal draw is on Friday.

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Champions League
@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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