Manchester City’s eight-goal thriller against Monaco is, as you would expect, splashed all over the back pages.
Rumour has it that you could see sparks flying from the Etihad Stadium press box on Tuesday night as scribes wrote, rewrote, then rewrote again on an unprecedented night of twists and turns.
Our media round up also contains a smattering of transfer gossip but let us start with the main event, City’s historic win over Monaco in the first leg of the last 16 Champions League tie.
First to Daniel Taylor in The Guardian, who reported: “Where does one even start with a match of this nature? It was a thrilling night, full of mistakes, drama and controversy and, ultimately, a remarkable feat of escapology for Manchester City. The second half was bedlam and, when everything was done, Pep Guardiola sat back in a chair and blew out his cheeks.
“’A lot of things happened,’ he said, with notable understatement, trying to make sense of the highest-scoring first-leg encounter there has been in any Champions League knockout tie.
“It was not easy for City’s manager because, on the hour, his team had been on their knees. Radamel Falcao had just scored one of the outstanding goals of his career and City, 3-2 down, were being largely outplayed by a Monaco team that has now scored 111 goals this season and, for long spells, displayed all the ingredients that are necessary to make a serious tilt at winning this competition.
“What followed was extraordinary, including three goals in a 12-minute blitz and another reminder why City’s crowd sing about the way their team ‘fight to the end.'”
Over to Henry Winter in the Times, who is already looking forward to the return leg.
“Roll on March 15,” he declared. “Let the countdown commence for the second leg in Monaco, for another rollercoaster in the land of the high rollers. For this was a game of end to endless entertainment, utterly bewitching throughout, with Radamel Falcao dinking one of the finest goals imaginable, and Sergio Agüero leading the Manchester City fightback in style.
“’Who can’t see football is the best there is?’ Agüero tweeted.
“Who could argue? Both sets of players were applauded from the field at the end because everyone privileged to be inside the Etihad knew that they had just witnessed one of the most thrilling encounters in recent European history, a match strewn with mistakes and spiced with genius. This was attacking at its Champions League best and defending at its Sunday League worst.
“City’s relentless forays upfield had fans present out of their seats; their struggles to form a redoubtable back line had those fans tuning in hiding behind the sofa. City will need to tighten up defensively if they are to win the Champions League for the first time, but their commitment to attack under Guardiola is magical.”
The Daily Telegraph’s Sam Wallace had an interesting theory to explain the rash of yellow cards
He reflected: “There was the scope for some redemption even in the space of one night, including for John Stones who found himself as the inglorious sideshow to Falcao’s magnificent second and then came back himself to score City’s fourth goal.
“Somehow along the way there were also 10 bookings for 10 different players, although it was hard to remember one bad foul – just lots of good players low on options when it came to stopping their opponents.”
Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail reckoned the match provoked comparisons to THAT game and noted a common threat between them.
He reckons: “It was the greatest match here since Sergio Aguero’s title-winning goal against Queens Park Rangers and, naturally, he was at the centre of it last night, too. Twice, he equalised, and also had a hand in the fifth. His opposite number for Monaco will feel more of a mix of emotions.
“Radamel Falcao scored twice — as many goals as he got in this city for Manchester United in an entire season — but missed the penalty that changed the game. Had it gone in, Monaco would have led 3-1 and maybe City would have crumbled.
“Instead, Falcao’s failure re-energised the stadium in a howl of righteous anger and encouragement. Even though Monaco did score again after that, this surge of emotion carried City forward.”
John Hutchinson at the Sun felt that young winger Leroy Sane has risen to the top of the City ranks after another eye-catching display.
In the paper’s ‘things we learned’ feature he wrote: “Ok, so it’s taken a while for some (even though it’s his first season), but £37million man Leroy Sane is now starting to justify his huge price tag.
“Aguero was City’s best player, then arguably Kevin de Bruyne took over that mantle. Now Sane has laid claim to being the best player.”
Finally, to a couple of transfer rumours, and City have been linked with a pair of wingers.
Warren Haughton writes in The Sun: “Manchester City are in pole position to land Real Madrid star Isco.
“The playmaker has cut a frustrated figure due to the lack of game time under current boss Zinedine Zidane.
“The 24-year-old has only started 11 La Liga games this season, but starred in Los Blancos 2-0 win against Espanyol last weekend.”
Elsewhere Arsenal man Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is reportedly attracting attention.
Darren Lewis writes in the Daily Mirror: “Everton are ready to rival Manchester City’s interest in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer.
“Ronald Koeman is among the 23-year-old’s admirers. The former Southampton star will have just a year remaining on his Arsenal contract in the summer.
“City are already leading the chase for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s services. Pep Guardiola was impressed by the playmaker’s display in the Champions League against his Bayern Munich team two-and-a-half years ago.
“But Koeman will have a war chest with which to continue his bid to overhaul of the Everton squad during the close season.”
Phew! We’ll be back same time, same place tomorrow!