Tottenham Hotspur were taught a harsh lesson on their return to the Champions League after Monaco delivered a sucker-punch to claim a surprise win in front of a record-breaking 85,011 at Wembley Stadium. The biggest home crowd to watch an English club in Europe produced a stellar noise but they were unable to rouse the home team sufficiently.
The Ligue 1 side soaked up ample pressure before going two-up in the opening 45 minutes. Bernardo Silva hammered home from outside the box after Erik Lamela had been disposed before Thomas Lemar reacted first after Spurs failed to clear Djibril Sidibe's cross. But Toby Alderweireld's header on the brink of the break gave Mauricio Pochettino's side hope.
Despite the hosts laying siege on the Monaco goal the team from the principality held firm and eventually ground out a victory which could go a long way to determining both side's fortunes in the competition. Harry Kane had Tottenham's best chance of the second period, but much like his teammates he was frustrated by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
Spurs marked their return to Europe's premier club competition after a five-year absence in the grand manner, at a sun-decked Wembley with the hope of doing justice to the illustrious surroundings. The north London club had not won in 90 minutes in five previous matches at the newly built home of English football, and made just a single change from the impressive win over Stoke in an attempt to buck that trend.
Lamela replaced Victor Wanyama, with Dele Alli dropping into a holding role as one of six players making their competition debuts. Nevertheless, a 4-1 victory in the Europa League last season acted as a convincing dress rehearsal for the Premier League outfit who were aiming to maintain their unbeaten run this term.
Monaco themselves were not bathed with top-tier competition experience but did name European Championship winner Joao Moutinho - who claims he was "minutes" away from a move to White Hart Lane - and ex-Manchester United and Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao in their team. Impressive Brazilian Fabinho also had the chance to shine having scored five goals already this term.
If Pochettino's team were not already aware of the enormity of the occasion, then the reception they received at kick-off would leave them under no illusions. They should have responded to the hearty support but Son Heung-Min saw his goal bound shot hacked off the line by Andrea Raggi.
The pressure continued to mount but then Tottenham were taught the harshest of lessons as Monaco took a shock lead. Silva benefitted from a lax Lamela pass and ghosted through the hosts' defence before lashing beyond a helpless Hugo Lloris from 25 yards.
Though Tottenham were unable to recapture their dominance from the opening quarter of an hour, Monaco retreated into their shell yet landed a second sucker-punch on the half-hour. Neither Ben Davies or Jan Vertonghen could clear Sidibe's cross and substitute Lemar rifled home the loose ball.
But the reckless abandon which Tottenham had played with throughout the first half finally paid dividends on the stroke of half-time to give them real hope of staging a dramatic comeback. Lamela made amends for his costly error by finding the head of Alderweireld who powered into the top corner.
The goal change the dynamic of the game and after Kane was foiled by Daniel Subasic, Monaco were fortunate not to concede a penalty after Fabinho felled Dele Alli - but prior to Lamela striking a right-wing corner. The pressure continued to rein down on the visitors' goal but Tiemoue Bakayoko and Fabinho held firm to frustrate Pochettino's men.
The £30m deadline day signing Moussa Sissoko was introduced for his Tottenham debut but he was unable to inspire a late equaliser, though he did set Dele Alli up for a late chance but typical of the England international's evening he skewed his effort woefully wide as their chance came and went.