Valencia Triumphed Over Resilient Monaco in Champions League Qualifiers

Getty Images

GOAL 

Valencia triumphed 3-1 over a resilient Monaco side in Wednesday's Champions League play-off first leg.

Rodrigo took just over four minutes to break the deadlock, latching on to Sofiane Feghouli's simply cut-back to tap home from close range after a spell of concerted pressure from the hosts.

The early goal kicked a sluggish Monaco into gear, with Mat Ryan - a debutant in the Valencia goal - forced into action from Andrea Raggi and then Anthony Martial but stood up well.

In a lively first half, Monaco posed a threat from set-pieces while the likes of Ivan Cavaleiro and Bernardo Silva were causing the Valencia full-backs much concern as half-time approached.

Indeed, Silva should have equalised when skipping past Jose Gaya and finding the outside of the far post with a thunderous shot before Martial's close-range finish was correctly ruled out for offside.

Monaco continued their improved display in the second half, netting an equaliser less than four minutes after the restart when Mario Pasalic pounced on a poor clearance to tuck home from eight yards.

Martial was at the heart of the move, skipping past three challenges before drilling a pass into the six-yard box that Ruben Vezo failed to deal with to gift Chelsea loanee Pasalic a simple finish. 

The visitors immediately dropped deeper after netting a deserved away goal and Valencia wasted no time taking advantage when substitute Pablo Piatti pulled back a deep cross for Parejo to tuck home.

Again Monaco managed to kick back into gear, testing Ryan through Wallace and Toulalan before Martial, a handful all evening, was brought down by Gaya only for his credible penalty appeals to be waved away.

Valencia delivered a a hammer with five minutes remaining when Feghouli beat Danijel Subasic from the edge of the area to give the visitors a daunting task at Stade Louis II for the second leg in six days' time.


>