Teenager Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Monaco nicked the first leg of the rescheduled Champions League quarter-final tie at Borussia Dortmund by 3 goals to 2.
In a game delayed by 24 hours due to a bomb explosion and attack on the Borussia Dortmund bus that hospitalised one Dortmund player (Marc Bartra) Mbappe diverted in Thomas Lemar’s cross before Sven Bender’s own goal made it 2-0.
Borussia Dortmund got themselves back into the game though when Ousmane Dembele slotted in from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s flick to pull one back for the Germans, but Mbappe curled home to restore the two-goal cushion.
However Dortmund gave themselves at least a fighting chance in the return leg when Shinji Kagawa added a late second for the hosts with 6 minutes remaining on the clock. Kagawa showed great skill to dribble past Jemerson and slot in, and there was almost even more late drama when Aubameyang headed over from yards out.
But Monaco survived and will take a slender advantage into a highly anticipated second leg at Stade Louis II on 19 April.
Monaco’s mad and wonderful attacking play has yielded 88 goals in 31 Ligue 1 games this season, and Dortmund were the latest to be demoralised by their movement and slick passing.
Mbappe gave early notice of his strength and pace as Sokratis Papastathopoulos gave away an early penalty attempting to get back on the right side. The Greek was relieved to see Fabinho drag the spot-kick wide, but the let-off was brief.
Less than three minutes later, Bernardo Silva broke free and picked out the overlapping Lemar with a sublime outside-of-the-foot pass. The full-back’s cross from a prime shooting position seemed to catch his team-mates by surprise, but the ball ricocheted off Mbappe’s thigh and rolled in.
Bender – playing in defence after Marc Bartra fractured his wrist in Tuesday’s bomb attack – contrived to head Andrea Raggi’s cross past his own goalkeeper for the second, but it was the third that fuelled the growing hype around Mbappe.
The 18-year-old’s emergence has been fast and furious, the boy played only 25 minutes in the group stage – but he showed the anticipation and composure of a veteran as he pounced on Lukasz Piszczek’s under-hit backpass, raced in on goal and barely broke stride in burying a curling shot into the top corner from 20 yards.
While it is impossible to say whether Tuesday’s attack contributed to Dortmund’s slow start, manager Thomas Tuchel’s double change at half-time was undoubtedly the spur to their recovery.
The introduction of Christian Pulisic – like Mbappe only 18 years old – was particularly effective. The United States international shredded left-back Raggi with pace and skill as Monaco were forced deeper and deeper and the pressure soon told as Dembele side-footed home to give Dortmund hope.
But Mbappe’s breakaway second meant that, despite Tuchel’s exhortations on the sidelines and Kagawa’s neat strike, the hosts will continue playing catch-up in next week’s return leg.
Let us hope the football takes the headlines and we are in for a glorious return game.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid won 2-1 at Bayern Munich, who had Javi Martinez sent off.
Both the Portuegese marvels goals came in the second half as Cristiano Ronaldo secured a 2-1 win for Real Madrid against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena and a firm advantage in their Champions League quarter-final tie.
The Portugal captain struck two minutes after the break to cancel out Arturo Vidal’s bullet header in the 25th minute that had put the German champions ahead. Then the man who now has an airport named after him prodded home a second to give the holders a strong result to take back to the Santiago Bernabeu for the return fixture.
Bayern had been good value for their lead but Vidal’s missed penalty allowed Madrid to get back into the match, before a red card for Javi Martinez left the Bundesliga leaders facing a battle to ensure they stayed in the tie.
It was all Bayern Munich in the opening and the first half belonged to the home side and Vidal in particular, the midfielder scoring with one emphatic header, missing a clear chance for a second and blazing a controversial spot-kick over the crossbar.
Madrid responded through Ronaldo’s first goal in the tournament since September 27 and Martinez’s two quick-fire yellow cards gave them a foothold they never looked likely to relinquish, before Ronaldo’s second 13 minutes from time sealed the win – his 100th goal in European competition. An amazing feat for the dangerous dynamo.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Bayern side aren’t out of it yet but the advantage rests with Zinedine Zidane, the man who won the competition as assistant to Ancelotti in 2014 before his triumph at the Madrid helm last year.
Bizarrely for all the Munich teams possession and attacking flare it was Madrid that came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening 20 minutes, Karim Benzema seeing a downward header clawed onto the underside of the crossbar and out by Manuel Neuer, back in the side after missing the last three matches with injury.
Bayern, though without the injured Robert Lewandowski, turned up the attacking pressure and a succession of corners eventually paid dividends. Vidal raced through the crowded box to meet Thiago Alcantara’s delivery and the Chile international powered a header high into the net, despite Keylor Navas getting hands to the ball.
The home side sought to cement their control and Vidal spurned a great chance to make it 2-0, heading high and wide from 12 yards out after Arjen Robben got free of Toni Kroos by charging for the byline rather than cutting inside from the left.
Vidal was then given the chance to cap a superb first half from the penalty spot but he blazed his effort over the crossbar, although Madrid will certainly feel that justice had been done after the assistant behind the goal had incorrectly ruled that Dani Carvajal had blocked a Franck Ribery effort with his arm.
Straight after kick off Madrid were on the offensive as Luka Modric found Carvajal in space down the right, and his cross was expertly swept into the bottom-left corner by Ronaldo, who was allowed to meet the ball unchallenged near the penalty spot.
Madrid went into defensive mode and looked content to hit Bayern on the counter-attack, and the tactical tweak brought them a further advantage as Martinez picked up two yellow cards in the space of three minutes for fouling Ronaldo as he looked to break into the hosts’ half.
But Ronaldo got the better of Germany’s number one Neuer for the second time in the 77th minute, racing to meet Marco Asensio’s curling cross from the left and poking the ball through Neuer’s legs and into the net.
It could be a fascinating second leg in Madrid and I wouldn’t rule out the German Champs just yet.
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