Raheem Sterling said Manchester City beating Monaco was “the most important thing”, despite the visitors’ three away goals in City’s memorable 5-3 win at the Etihad Stadium.
Sterling opened the scoring, but his side trailed 2-1 and 3-2 before storming back to win in the Champions League last-16 first-leg clash. The 22-year-old slotted the hosts into a 27th-minute lead, but Falcao headed Monaco level five minutes later.
Sergio Aguero felt he had won a penalty when he beat goalkeeper Danijel Subasic and went to ground, only to be penalised for diving. To compound matters for City 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe blasted the visitors ahead just before the break.
Shortly after half-time Willy Caballero saved Falcao’s tame penalty and in the 58th minute Aguero equalised after Subasic’s weak attempt to save. Yet less than three minutes later Falcao redeemed himself with an exquisite chip to put Monaco ahead again.
The action continued apace when Aguero smashed home a corner on 71 minutes to level again and six minutes later John Stones stabbed in another corner to send the home fans into raptures, which increased when Leroy Sane prodded in to make it 5-3 with eight minutes to go.
Sterling told BT Sport 2: “It was end-to-end stuff and at the end of the day Monaco gave us a real tough game. I was impressed with the way they kept scoring. We had to keep pulling back and that’s what we’ve done and we’ve got the win and that’s the most important thing.”
Stones, who scored his first Champions League goal, reflected on “great team spirit, great desire and great goals from us”.
“I thought we created so much and could have had a few penalties as well,” he added. “I thought I needed to make amends for what happened at other end so to get a goal on a personal level was delightful.”
City boss Pep Guardiola labelled his side “lucky” on the night, although he was happy with the result. He said: “Many things happen. A lot of things happen. In the moment we were lucky and we were stable mentally. It is not easy to play against a team (that are as) quick (as) they are, (as) good.
“We saw Monaco (tonight) so we’re going to have to score goals there. It will be almost impossible (to keep a clean sheet). They’re able to score two or three or four goals, but okay it’s a good result.”