For seven giddy second-half minutes Manchester City thought they would get away with it. They had snuck back into the game, ahead in the tie, and back into the quarter-final draw.
But they were one goal from disaster and sure enough that disaster struck. Tiemoue Bakayoko got on the end of a free-kick and headed it in. Monaco won the game 3-1, the 6-6 tie on away goals. They are still in Europe and City are not.
This was never going to be as good as the 5-3 first leg but it was still an enthralling back-and-forth. City were going through, then Monaco, then City, then Monaco. But there was no doubt that the right team made it in the end.
Monaco’s first-half display was one of the best seen in the competition this season. Pep Guardiola said on Tuesday night that Monaco were the “best team in the world at scoring goals”, and that City would have to score to progress. Here Leonardo Jardim’s side did everything to prove him right. They raced into a 2-0 lead, enough to send them through, but that alone does not tell the full story of their dominance. They won every 50-50 and looked like scoring with every attack. With a bit more luck they would have killed this game long before City could get back into it.
That first half, ultimately, was where City lost this tie. That 5-3 lead was not ideal but it should have been enough to see them through. But City chose the worst moment of the season to go missing, to get on the wrong side of a game this one-sided.
For all the inevitable attention on City’s defence, who conceded six goals over two legs, they lost this game in midfield. In the first half Fernandinho, David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne were utterly absent, losing every loose ball and looking, in basic terms, far less up for contest than Monaco.