Following their 2-2 draw at home against Reims, the boys in red and white were hungry for a taste of victory going into their away match against Metz on Sunday. This was visible from very early on in the game as the Principality side commanded a clear control of possession. In a move that ultimately paid off, Head Coach Niko Kovac enlisted almost the same squad that played in the season opener a week prior. The biggest difference came in the form of Djibril Sidibe, a Monaco defender returning from a loan period to the BPL team Everton.
The fight started the moment the first whistle blew and the first victim was Aleksandr Golovin, who had to make his exit after sustaining an injury. This did, however, see Monaco gain a free kick. Sofiane Diop stepped up to the mark only to have his slice poorly cleared by Metz defence and promptly fired into the back of the net by none other than surprise superstar defender Benoit Badiashile. The 19 year-old confidently finished to bag Monaco’s first and only goal of the match at the 22nd minute. It’s no surprise that Manchester United made that €25 million bid for the French youngster, but it’s perhaps less surprising that Monaco outright rejected it, more on that here.
The match was nowhere near over yet and the red and whites had to pull out all the stops to maintain their lead right into the final moments. Goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte went above and beyond to keep the opposition’s balls on the preferable side of the goal line. The real challenge arrived in the second half, as Youssouf Fofana combined his two yellow cards for a red one after another foul in the 47th minute. This meant that Monaco were to carry on with one fewer player versus their opposition’s complete 11.
Nevertheless, Lecomte was able to keep composed as he denied a series of decent shots from Metz. The hosts’ last chance to equalise arrived at the 96th minute with a free kick, which Lecomte confidently collected. On the back of a strong performance with a reduced squad for nearly 50 minutes, Kovac and Co’ were able to walk away with their first win of the season and a well deserved 1-0 scoreline.
The 2019/20 season saw Monaco finish in a less than ideal ninth place, but this year is looking very different as a radically refreshed squad with some emerging talents looks to challenge the podium placeholders. The club’s enlistment of Kovac is already looking like a brilliant move, although maybe its too early to judge at this point. The Monegasques will be back in action, this time against FC Nantes under the floodlights of Stade Louis II with kick off scheduled at 17:00 on September 13. Here’s to hoping that Monaco maintain their new-found momentum.
Featured image courtesy of asmonaco.com