The freak own goal that cost team $25 million

4 weeks ago 13
PR Distribution

By Sam Worthington with AP

Monaco's Champions League dreams were cruelled by a bizarre own goal which also cost the glamour club $25 million this morning.

With the playoff tie against Shakhtar Donetsk locked at 2-2 on aggregate in extra time of a tense second leg, Monaco coach Niko Kovac turned to French substitute Ruben Aguilar to help shore up his defence.

But Kovac could only watch on in horror as Mykhaylo Mudryk's cross hit Aguilar's heels and looped over the goalkeeper's head and into the net in the 114th minute.

Watch the second leg of Celtic and Rangers' UEFA Europa League play-off qualifiers this Friday morning live, ad-free and on-demand on Stan Sport

Ruben Aguilar and Radoslaw Majecki of Monaco look dejected after the match. (Getty)

Shakhtar held on for the 3-2 aggregate win to advance to the group stage and pocket a minimum of $25m in prize money.

UEFA has abolished the away goals rule which would have taken Monaco through after 90 minutes at Metalist Stadium in the Ukraine.

"If we take 210 minutes of play, we dominated for 190 of them," Kovac said.

"Football is cruel sometimes but I'm proud of my boys.

"We needed to make substitutions because we played with great intensity and had to keep it up. Look at the statistics - Shakhtar have one shot on target and two goals.

"It may be unfair but life must go on."

The Champions League group draw will be held on Friday at 2am AEST and broadcast on Stan Sport.

There will be a new Sheriff in the draw after the club from Tiraspol in the breakaway region of Transnistria became the first team from Moldova to qualify for the group stage.

Sheriff advanced easily with a 0-0 draw at Dinamo Zagreb after winning 3-0 in the home leg of their playoff last week.

Sheriff has won the Moldovan title in 19 of the past 21 seasons and will finally take their place alongside Europe's most storied clubs.

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe in terms of gross domestic product.

The match was also notable for the Dinamo debut of Australia's Deni Juric, the 23-year-old brother of Socceroos striker Tomi Juric.

Deni Juric of Dinamo Zagreb and Edmund Addo of Sheriff compete for the ball. (Getty)

Friday's draw will also include 10 of the 12 clubs whose owners tried to wreck the Champions League by launching their own European Super League in April.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus will play while still fighting UEFA in court for the right to organise a rival competition.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is now considering the rebels' case after they won a decision from a judge in Madrid to stall UEFA from disciplining them.

There are some unusually low ranked teams among the top seeded clubs.

Top status is given to the Champions League and Europa League title holders plus winners of the six highest ranked domestic leagues.

That means French champion Lille is among the top seeds despite being the lowest ranked team of all 32 in the draw, just as it was two years ago when losing five of six games.

Europa League winner Villarreal and Portuguese champion Sporting also have relatively low rankings.

In contrast, the pot of second seeded teams is loaded with serial winners of European trophies plus Paris Saint-Germain's team of superstars, including Lionel Messi.

In pot two, the lowest ranked team based on European results since 2016, Borussia Dortmund, is ranked higher by UEFA than half of the top seeds.

The Champions League's prize money keeps going up despite the pandemic, which is good news for the many clubs whose finances have been hit hard over the last year.

SEEDING POTS

Pot 1: Chelsea (England), Villarreal (Spain), Atletico Madrid (Spain), Bayern Munich (Germany), Manchester City (England), Inter Milan (Italy), Lille (France), Sporting (Portugal).

Pot 2: Real Madrid (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Juventus (Italy), Manchester United (England), Paris Saint-Germain (France), Liverpool (England), Sevilla (Spain), Borussia Dortmund (Germany).

Pot 3: Porto (Portugal), Ajax (Netherlands), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine), Leipzig (Germany), Salzburg (Austria), Benfica (Portugal), Atalanta (Italy), Zenit St. Petersburg (Russia).

Pot 4: Besiktaş (Turkey), Dynamo Kyiv (Ukraine), Brugge (Belgium), Young Boys (Switzerland), AC Milan (Italy), Malmö (Sweden), Wolfsburg (Germany), Sheriff (Moldova)

For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!

Read Entire Article