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Wednesday , 13 December 2017

Falcao, Mbappe Star as Monaco put Dortmund Out

Monaco reached the Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 2004 after an impressive second-leg performance in the last eight against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 side took a 3-2 first-leg lead back to Stade Louis II, where kick-off was pushed back five minutes after Dortmund’s team bus was delayed.

Teenager Kylian Mbappe pounced from close range to increase Monaco’s advantage after three minutes and Radamel Falcao headed in soon after to all but put the tie beyond Dortmund.

The Bundesliga outfit threw on exciting forward Ousmane Dembele and it was a fantastic run from the 19-year-old that set up Marco Reus to lash in after the break.

But substitute Valere Germain scored 22 seconds after coming off the bench for the hosts to secure their spot in the last four.

Monaco will discover their semi-final opponents when the draw is made on Friday, with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Juventus also progressing.

Leonardo Jardim’s young Monaco side have swept aside all before them in the Champions League this season, entertaining as they go with a brand of fearless, attacking football that the Portuguese boss said before the tie is part of their “DNA”.

The hosts poured forward with ruthless efficiency in the first half, with the pace of Benjamin Mendy and Thomas Lemar creating an overlap on Monaco’s left that Dortmund had no answer to.

It was from his first burst from full-back that Mendy forced Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Burki to parry a long-range effort into the path of Mbappe, and the prolific teenager finished smartly.

Mendy and Mbappe then combined for Lemar to add his fourth assist of the knockout stages when he set up Falcao for the former Manchester United and Chelsea striker’s 25th goal of the season.

At 31, Colombia forward Falcao is a relative veteran in this Monaco side and his experience in forward play complemented the penetrating runs and powerful dribbling of strike partner Mbappe.

The 18-year-old was particularly effective for Monaco on the counter attack as Dortmund searched for a way back into the tie late on, before his replacement Germain put it beyond their reach following another Lemar assist.

Slow start costs Dortmund

Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel had been aggrieved by the decision to reschedule his side’s home first-leg meeting with Monaco just 24 hours after three bombs exploded near their team bus last Tuesday, leaving defender Marc Bartra with a fractured wrist.

Tuchel complained his players had been “completely ignored” but, after a 3-1 Bundesliga win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, the 43-year-old said the incident was out of his side’s system before the trip to the Stade Louis II.

However, their second-leg preparation was also disrupted with Dortmund saying their bus was held for 20 minutes by local police.

The visitors started slowly, and the task of overturning a first-leg deficit became substantially trickier after conceding two early goals and watching Nuri Sahin’s curling free-kick strike a post at the other end.

Monaco’s young stars may have shone through over the two legs, but Dortmund have one of their own. Tuchel turned to Dembele after only 27 minutes, and the 19-year-old was the visitors’ biggest threat.

But with top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang unable to make an impact over the two legs, Dortmund lacked the clinical touch of their opponents.

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