Monaco are through to the last eight of the Uefa Champions League for the first time since their runners-up berth in 2004, thanks to their first leg win at Arsenal.
Arsenal were on the brink of making history after Aaron Ramsey doubled Olivier Giroud’s opener with 11 minutes left to play for at the Stade Louis II on Tuesday night. But goalkeeper Danijel Subasic clawed Giroud’s late effort as the principality club held on to advance on away goals.
The Londoners had sought to become the first team to overturn a 3-1 first-leg home deficit in the Uefa Champions League era and, even got as close as possible in a frantic finale at a familiar clime where manager Arsene Wenger tasted his first triumph as a manager.
Lo! Good enough was never enough for the Gunners, who pressed the home side’s subdued backline throughout. Once Joao Moutinho failed in his bid to complicate matters with what would have been Monaco‘s fourth goal of the tie, Arsenal reclaimed initiative and got the better of Leonardo Jardim’s men.
Laurient Koscielny’s shot came off the crossbar but the referee had signaled the Frenchman offside. Hardworking Englishman Danny Welbeck soon slipped Giroud through to slot in his right-footed shot from Subasic’s rebound of his earlier attempt.
It was still a long way through the tunnel for the visitors, yet they appeared to have everything in control. Aymen abdennour averted Welbeck’s effort to leave scores at 3-2 aggregate before the break.
Arsenal’s onslaught continued after the break until the Ligue 1 club came out of their shell to get a go at it in their own territory.
Wenger brought on Ramsey to calm down the storm in a move that saw the more defensive Francis Coquelin give way. Mesut Ozil came close but it was the Welsh ace that set up a thrilling finale, latching on to a loose Layvin Kurzawa clearance after Theo Walcott’s shot had hit the post, before steering in to leave Arsenal on the verge of history.
The Gunners have now failed to advance from the round of 16 in their last 5 attempts but have yet to lose away to a Frenchy side in 11 matches, and have conquered on 8 of those visits.