If you were unaware of the simple, indisputable fact that soccer is the best sport, and you had something else to do in the middle of the afternoon than sit in front of a screen and watch the Champions League today, then I would recommend you track down a replay of the Manchester City-Monaco match that just finished. If an ultra-attacking, goal-drenched, error-filled, drama-suffused 5-3 thriller isn’t enough to convince you of this sport’s superiority, nothing will be.
My god, what a game. I don’t even know what to say. Which is funny, since there were about 12 different narrative threads that felt like they’d come to the fore a different times of the game—up until about the match’s sixth goal, a neat little Sergio Agüero number that gave City the equalizer that they’d eventually convert into a win. By that point, it was clear that “!!!!!!!!” would be the only accurate summation of this glorious, silly match.
But hey, there were eight goals! A missed penalty! Another penalty that went uncalled! A couple huge, certain-goal-saving plays! Unimaginably bad defending! Let’s get to some of the highlights, though anything other than sitting in front of a TV and basking in the beauty of this game in its entirety is doing yourself a disservice:
This video doesn’t embed right but I’m going to put it here anyway because you need to see all of the goals:
Manchester City scored first, then Monaco scored two quick ones before halftime, then Radamel Falcao missed a penalty right after the break, then Sergio Agüero tied things up, then Falcao scored a gorgeous chip to retake the lead, then Agüero scored again to tie things back up, then John Stones (who, like every other defender in this game, played like garbage) of all people gave City the lead, and finally Leroy Sané sealed the game with City’s fifth and the game’s eighth goal in the 82nd minute. It was even wilder than it sounds.
So many torn up headlines during the duration of the game. Confident Manchester City Do Their Job, Beat Monaco. Monaco Stun Sorry City Team With Young And Old Studs. Radamel Falcao (Remember Him?) Still Playing Soccer, Apparently Doesn’t Suck Anymore [Update: Then He Missed A Penalty]. Pep Fraudiola Exposed Yet Again As City Blown Out By Monaco. The Redemption Of Sergio Agüero. Oh My God, Radamel Falcao Is So Good!!!!! Pep Guardiola Is The Best Manager Ever.
The most accurate headline is probably Manchester City and Monaco Discover What Happens When No Team Decides To Play Defense. Any summary of the game misses the point, though. The point being that a single match—one that started with 45 minutes of uninterrupted, chaotic action, then took a short 15 minute break only to come back with another continuous 45 much like the first, and wrapping up in a two hours—encapsulated all of these varying narratives and emotions. You laughed, you cried, you jumped up in joy, you crashed to the floor in anguish, you did it all. It is an experience that is unique to soccer, and it’s why it’s the best sport.