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RB Leipzig destroy Monaco to aid last 16 hopes


Monaco (AFP) – Devastating RB Leipzig boosted their chances of qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday by taking Monaco apart 4-1 with a four-goal first-half demolition that saw them draw level on points with second-place Porto in Group G.

Leipzig took full advantage of slack Monaco defending and Porto drawing 1-1 at Besiktas earlier on with a free-flowing attacking display that saw the Bundesliga side reignite their knockout hopes.

Ralph Hasenhuettl’s team stay third due their head-to-head record, which has Porto on top, 5-4 over their two matches. Monaco are out of Europe after failing to win once and picking up just two points from their five matches.

Ligue 1 side Monaco needed a win to have any chance of qualifying but gifted Leipzig a sixth-minute lead when defender Jemerson sliced an innocuous Marcel Sabitzer cross past befuddled Monaco keeper Danijel Subasic.

After scoring the opener Jemerson turned provider for the opposition three minutes later, his weak pass out from the back easily intercepted by Kevin Kampl, who scampered forward before feeding Timo Werner with an easy chance that the German happily slotted home.

Monaco briefly rallied, and Radamel Falcao was unlucky to see his close range stab at goal, after confusion in the Leipzig defence, kicked away by RB stopper Peter Gulacsi, but the Colombian soon had an impact at the other end, clumsily bringing down Willi Orban in his own area and allowing Werner to double his tally from the penalty spot.

Falcao made up for his mistake two minutes before the break when he met Rony Lopes’ free-kick before Gulacsi could connect with his fist to reduce the deficit to two.

But the striker’s struggling teammates let him down only with seconds of the half to spare, with Naby Keita spinning Kamil Glik before charging towards goal and ending Monaco’s European hopes with a neat finish.

Monaco, fresh from a domestic disappointment after a draw at Ligue 1 new boys Amiens at the weekend, failed to rally, and Leipzig cruised to a win that gives them a chance of qualifying from the group.

They host leaders Besiktas on December 6 needing to do better than Porto do at home to rock-bottom Monaco.

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