Millennium Post

Heartache for Gunners, joy for Monaco

Heartache for Gunners, joy for Monaco
Monaco desperately held on to qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals after a desperate fightback from Arsenal on Tuesday fell just short at the expense of away goals after the tie finished 3-3 on aggregate. Arsene Wenger, who was returning to the club he led to the French title in 1991, looked on as his valiant side almost completed the greatest comeback in Champions League history.

A 2-0 Arsenal victory at a packed Louis II stadium was one goal short after a first-half strike from Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey’s goal with 11 minutes left set up a barnstorming finish. The Londoners ran themselves into the ground as they pressed for the qualifying goal but an inspired performance from Monaco’s Croatian ‘keeper Danijel Subasic proved decisive.

Ramsey set up the thrilling finale when he scrambled the ball home after fellow substitute Theo Walcott had his shot come back off the post on 79 minutes. Giroud then had a point-blank header pawed off the line by the acrobatic Subasic as Arsenal threw everything forward in search of the goal that would send them through to the last eight. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker was gracious in defeat and said the first leg played a key role. 

“The best team went through and Monaco deserved it because they played much better in the first leg. We played well on Wednesday (Tuesday) but it was a massive deficit, and it wasn’t enough tonight. Monaco deserve it and that’s absolutely fine. They caused a lot of problems away from home but we have to admit we regret the first game. But if we continue to play like that we’ll do well in the FA Cup and the league,” Mertesacker said.
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