After more than five months without playing, the boys in red and white returned to football at Stade Louis II on August 23. Their first competition of the 2020/21 season were Stade Reims. Head Coach Niko Kovac opted for a 4-3-3 formation and chose to use the same starting line-up that won against AC Alkmaar in the concluding match of the pre-season.
The match did not begin as smoothly as Kovac would have hoped, as goals in the 5th and 21st minutes gave the visitors a 2-0 lead within 21 minutes. Ever resilient, the Principality side pushed back while maintaining possession of the ball. A few players took some decent attempts on goal but it wasn’t until the very final moments of the first half that the tide began to turn in Monaco’s favour.
Central defender Axel Disasi used his head to best the opposition goalkeeper, following a cross from teammate Tchouameni three minutes into overtime. Several attempts later, the scoreline still stood at 1-2. Unusually enough, it was another defender who stepped up to the job of bagging another much-needed goal. At the 55th minute Aleksandr Golovin was awarded a free kick which Benoît Badiashile managed to control in the air with some aerobatic manoeuvres. After a sweet touch the big man volleyed it home to equalise 2-2.
Monaco kept the ball upfield, impressively holding on to 80 percent possession. Many unsuccessful shots later the scoreline stood at two all. Axel Disasi barely missed a header from a corner cross, four minutes into overtime. The youngster will surely wish he had doubled up on his goals but his first impact on the scoresheet made all the difference as the Monegasques walked away with a precious point.
The next match up will be away against FC Metz on Sunday, August 30 and will kick off at 15:00 local time.
Featured Image courtesy of AS Monaco