Two own goals...
“A real test” said Fabinho as he took to the pitch at the Emirates Stadium. And the Brazilian defender’s prediction proved spot on. After a torrid first twenty minutes, Leonardo Jardim’s men opened the scoring as Moutinho’s free kick was deflected into his own net by Vezo, under pressure from Abdennour (30 mins). The Spanish response was immediate, with Abdennour forced to clear a goalbound effort off the line (35 mins). Valencia kept up their offensive, and it paid dividends as Barragan’s tricky cross was diverted past his own ‘keeper Ricardo Carvalho. Two goals, two OGs! Next it was the turn of the “blues” of Monaco to look dangerous, with a couple of shots from Moutinho (39 and 45 mins).
All square at half-time
At the break, YFC was introduced into proceedings in place of Kondogbia. Martial fired a daisy-cutter off-target (53 mins) in reply to an effort by Rodrigo (50 mins). With an hour gone, Leonardo made three changes, sending on Elderson, Dirar and Ocampos. The next chance was Monaco’s, as Valère Germain missed narrowly with a header across goal (66 mins). The Spanish then countered at lightning speed, and former Ligue 1 player Aly Cissokho put the ball on a plate for Alcacer, who duly side-footed home a cool finish to give Valencia the advantage (66 mins).
Falcao made his comeback in London, six months after his knee operation, for the last twenty minutes of the game. Fabinho had Alvès scampering with a long-range effort, but the Spanish side coutinued to look threatening, and Monaco had Suba to thank for keeping them in the game with a super one-on-one block from Piatti (80 mins).
Suba and Lucas do the business
It proved a crucial save. At the other end, Lucas Ocampos chanced his arm from 20 yards, and his shot sailed past Alvès to level the scores. The Argentine jumped into the arms of Falcao in celebration. There was still time for one more chance as Dirar crossed from the right, looking for the Columbian star lurking deep in the Spanish area. But Vezo redeemed himself following his first-half own goal and came to Valencia’s rescue with a crucial tackle. Final score, 2-2!