Monaco showed little room for sentiment as they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 in a thrilling Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Less than 24 hours after the original tie was postponed when three explosions went off near the Dortmund team bus as they made their way to Signal Iduna Park, the Ligue 1 leaders gained the advantage thanks to Kylian Mbappe’s double and a Sven Bender own goal.
Questions were asked whether Dortmund would have been in the right frame of mind to take the field so soon after the incident and with team-mate Marc Bartra in hospital having undergone surgery on an arm injury sustained in the blasts.
And, after wearing T-shirts supporting their stricken team-mate in the warm-up, their first-half performance proved doubters right as Monaco, who also missed a first-half spot-kick, surged into a two-goal lead.
The second half was a different story and Ousmane Dembele and Shinji Kagawa goals either side of Mbappe’s second left it all to play for ahead of the return leg in the Principality.
Mbappe, tipped to be the next big star of European football, was in the game from the off and showcased his pace and power as he earned a 17th-minute penalty.
He surged into the area and was felled by Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who received a booking, but Fabinho dragged his spot-kick well wide of the post.
Dortmund’s reprieve lasted just two minutes, however, as Monaco went ahead in the 19th minute, though there was more than a hint of luck involved.
Thomas Lemar found himself in space on the left and squared across goal to Mbappe, who was in an offside position, and Monaco’s fortune did not end there as the striker converted off his thigh, without knowing too much about it.
Things got even better for the French side 10 minutes before half-time as they doubled the lead when Andrea Raggi’s superb delivery from the left was diverted into his own net by a hapless Bender.
Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel responded at the break by bringing on Nuri Sahin and Christian Pulisic and it had an immediate effect, as kicking towards the ‘Yellow Wall’ the hosts were rampant after the restart.
After several near misses, they finally got back into the game just before the hour when Dembele stuck into an empty net after neat play by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Kagawa.
As Dortmund pushed for a leveller, Monaco had a superb chance to restore their two-goal lead with 15 minutes remaining, when Lemar’s ball set Radamel Falcao free, the striker rounded goalkeeper Roman Burki but blazed over when off balance.
Monaco were not so wasteful when their next chance arrived in the 79th minute as Mbappe intercepted Lukasz Pisczek’s loose pass, raced clear and sent a sublime finish into the top corner.
It was his 21st goal of the season and only enhances his flourishing reputation.
Kagawa gave Dortmund hope, though, five minutes later with a superb goal, killing Pulisic’s cross dead, before slotting home in style.
Aubameyang could have earned a draw in injury time but he headed over and Monaco will leave Germany as favourites to progress.
Originally published at The Telegraph