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Champions League

UCL: AS Monaco Defeat Manchester City On Away Goals

AS Monaco Champions League
FONTVIEILLE, MONACO - MARCH 15: Players of Monaco celebrate after the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Monaco and Manchester City at the Louis II stadium in Monaco on March 15, 2017. (Photo by PHILIP ROCK/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Make no mistake about it folks: Leonardo Jardim’s Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club are good. Real good. So good that they dismissed Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City Football Club 3-1 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 to advance by the same scoreline on away goals following a 6-6 aggregate draw.

That being said, hanging on to the world class talent and youth AS Monaco is blessed to have may not be a priority for the shrewd moneymaker that is the Russian tycoon named Mr. Dmitry Yevgenyevich Rybolovlev.

Players like Kylian Mbappe, Radamel Falcao, Bernardo Silva, Jemerson, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar, Fabinho, Valere Germain and yes, even Danijel Subasic could all be on the move in the summer as more established brands in Europe look to pick apart a dream team with an unstoppable form similar to that of Leicester City in 2015-16, who rolled past the Premier League establishment by storm. Mbappe (8′), Fabinho (29′) and Bakayoko (77′) scored for Monaco, while Leroy Sane’s 71st minute goal was the difference for all of six minutes.

Mario Balotelli of OGC Nice was at the history-making encounter at the Stade Louis II and proclaimed to the media what has been known for the space of several weeks: Monaco are truly better than PSG, although there are still about two months and change remaining in the season.

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“Monaco impress me more than PSG, much more,” said Balotelli. “PSG have good players but they don’t play as a team. I have not played against PSG much, I am not saying that they are not a good team. They are in the top places, like us. But without Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] they do not play like a team. They can win against anyone, they can lose to anyone.

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“Zlatan was the boss, without him it is not the same. Paris is not a team, unlike Monaco. On the contrary, PSG have phenomenons in their team, like Thiago Silva, [Angel] Di Maria. [Edinson] Cavani is a great player but not a phenomenon. Monaco don’t have any phenomenons… [Bernardo] Silva is really, really good though.”

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OGC Nice are third on the Ligue 1 table with 63 points and a 18-9-2 record. AS Monaco are 21-5-3 (68 points), three clear of PSG, who are on 65 points and a 20-5-4 record. Monaco will tune up for their Coupe de la Ligue final on Mar. 19 away to SM Caen.

As for their opponent, Paris Saint-Germain will have a more difficult prep match, at home to the tenants of the French League Cup venue, the Parc OL’s Olympique Lyonnais. Both games are on Mar. 19, with Monaco playing at 7 a.m. PT and Paris kicking off six hours later at 1 p.m. PT. Nice will be playing ahead of both sides, away for FC Nantes, on Saturday, Mar. 18 at 9 a.m. PT.

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