In an electric atmosphere at the Mestalla, Valencia appropriately came out of the blocks at lightning speed! Raggi was called into action twice to deal with the first couple of Spanish attacks, but it was a matter of third time lucky for Valencia. From a left-wing cross, Feghouli surprised Elderson and headed down for Rodrigo, who had the simplest of tasks to slide the ball home (4 mins). The Valencia fans went wild, while the Monegasques were left reeling. Nonetheless, they wasted little time in summoning up a response, as a fine cross from Raggi was just too long for Martial (6 mins). But Feghouli then threatened again, getting to a corner with a near post flick that flashed across goal before going out of play, to the relief of Subasic (13 mins).
Silva hits the woodwork!
After a frenetic first fifteen minutes, the game began to settle down. AS Monaco saw plenty of the ball, but were unable to pick open the very compact Valencia defence. In the 33rd minute, Martial collected the ball 30 yards from the Spaniards’ goal and rolled a perfect pass into the path of the overlapping Silva. The Portuguese drove into the penalty area but saw his far post shot cannon back off the upright! Martial then had the ball in the Valencia net on 39 minutes, only for his effort to be chalked off for a marginal, but correct offside decision. The home side were under pressure, but went in at the break with their slender advantage intact after one last shot from Alcacer that missed the target.
Parejo answers Pasalic
After the restart, Feghouli was once again first into action with a cross that was cleared by Wallace, but it was AS Monaco who came up with a 49th minute equaliser. Martial left several defenders trailing in his wake and drilled a cross into the middle. The Valencia defence failed to clear the ball properly and Pasalic was able to side-foot home. In the 56th minute, Ryan was forced into a diving save to keep out a curling effort from Cavaleiro. Now under the cosh, Valencia nonetheless managed to get their noses back in front just before the hour mark thanks to a goal from Parejo, who collected a pass and swept home from close to the penalty spot (59 mins). Almost a carbon copy of the previous goal. The Spanish side were looking more self-assured again, and carved out another dangerous opening in the 69th minute, but Elderson got ahead of Feghouli.
Martial denied a penalty!
Momets later, Ryan saved a Pasalic header after a good cross from Dirar (70 mins). The major turning point of the game arrived three minutes later. Martial once again beat several opponents, but was brought down in the box. Despite having a good view of the incident, the assistant referee failed to signal for a penalty, to the despair of the Monaco striker. The referee then failed to play the advantage for AS Monaco after a foul on Toulalan, when the visitors had a promising looking three-on-three situation… And to add insult to injury, Feghouli bagged a third goal for Valencia in the 85th minute following a poorly cleared corner. The final scoreline of 3-1 was harsh on Leonardo Jardim’s men, who deserved much more. They will need to make up a two-goal deficit in the second leg at the Stade Louis-II next week.