[box]B-change is bringing you exclusive reports from the UEFA Champions League 2014-15. [/box]
[box] Last 16 first-leg, Emirates Stadium: Arsenal 1 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 90+1) Monaco 3 (Kondogbia 38, Berbatov 52, Carrasco 90+4); BayArena – Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Calhanoglu 56) Atletico Madrid 0 [/box]
LONDON: The mercurial Arsenal have left themselves an uphill task to qualify for the quarterfinals as they slumped to a 1-3 defeat to Monaco at the Emirates last night.
What seemed to be an easy tie for Arsene Wenger and his team, turned out to be a match that Arsenal weren’t able to ever get a hold on. AS Monaco drew first blood when Kondogbia powered a shot from 35 yards out which took a deflection of Metesacker and went over the head of Arsenal’s goalie Ospina.
Arsenal tried to push on for an equalizer after the break but didn’t seem to find a way past the Monaco defense who were solid throughout the tournament having conceded 1 goal before tonight.
With a solid defense backing them, Monaco then punished Arsenal further, hitting them on the counter. To add to insult to injury, it was former Spurs and Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov who smashed home the second for his team.
Things turned dire for Arsenal as Olivier Giroud missed an open goal to get his team back in the game. Giroud had an awful game, having 6 shots and none on target and was eventually substituted right after the miss.
There were still chances for Arsenal to get in the game with former united striker, Danny Welbeck hitting his own team mate Theo Walcott with a shot that could have gone in. This summed up their frustrating night.
Come injury time and substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain caressed a shot into the corner from the just outside the box. A wonderful goal by the 21-year-old who has relatively failed to live up to the hype surrounding his talent.
Just when there was a bit of hope for the English side, Monaco punished them further when the Ox lost the ball and Carrasco easily shot past a diving Ospina.
Wenger’s team must now score at least three goals and have a clean sheet against his former side in order to progress into the quarter finals. History tells us that no team has ever, in the current competition, being 2 goals down in the first leg at home, progressed to the next round but could Arsene Wenger and his team be the first?
In the night’s other clash, (as reported by Eurosport), “Bayer Leverkusen took the upper hand in their last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid, a single second half goal giving them a 1-0 advantage ahead of the second leg in Madrid next week.”
“Hakan Calhanoglu struck brilliantly in the second half but the hosts were fortunate to escape with their lead in tact as Fernando Torres had a goal harshly disallowed.The visitors were reduced to ten men with less than quarter of an hour remaining as Tiago received a second yellow for a clumsy and ill-judged challenge on Karim Bellarabi. Twenty minutes later came the game’s moment of controversy. A corner came over towards the near post, and squirmed through for Torres to head into the empty net at the back post, but the assistant referee on the goal-line judged that it went out of play before reaching the near post. Replays suggested that the ball stayed in play and there were question marks over his ability to see past two goalposts to reliably deem the ball to be out.”
Featured Image courtesy: www.eurosport.fr