The sixth match day of the 2020/21 Ligue 1 season was a challenging one for head coach Niko Kovac as he and his men travelled north for a clash against Stade Brestois. The greatest contributing factor to the challenge was the lack of some vital characters. Golovin, Henrique, Maripan and Ballo-Touré were all injured while Axel Disasi and Aurélien Tchouameni sat out as a result of suspensions. The Monaco coach opted to play with a 4-2-2 formation with a younger than usual squad.
The hosts were not easy on their guests, far from it, but Brest is known for its focus on attack. The Bretons’ early push paid off in the eighth minute as AS Monaco Academy-trained Romain Faivre successfully found the back of the Monegasques’ net, taking the score to 1-0 to Brest. The shooting action didn’t die down thereafter as both sides made attempts on goal in quick succession.
By half time Monaco dominated in terms of possession of the ball but struggled to make any change to the scoreline. So Kovac brought out the latest signing of the Monegasque transfer window, Portuguese midfielder Florentino Luis. Over the next 20 minutes a battle in midfield ensued. To support his troops, Kovac sent in Stevan Jovetic and Enzo Millot. At this moment five of the players on the field were AS Monaco Academy-trained, one of which being Brest’s Faivre, but nevertheless four “Munegu Babies” served to energise the red and white squad.
With Monaco looking rejuvenated, they pressed on but it wasn’t long before Kovac substituted in two more individuals, Pietro Pellegri and Willem Geubbels. This frequent change of guard ultimately proved to be futile as the Bretons formed a nine man wall ahead of the penalty area. As the final whistle blew the scoreline stood at 1-0 to the hosts.
Despite maintaining possession for 67 percent of the time and taking 21 shots, Monaco were unable to beat Brest and now stand in sixth place in the Ligue 1 table.
Monaco will be back at it on October 18 under the floodlights of Stade Louis II but this time against fifth place Montpellier in what promises to be a fierce face-off.
Featured image courtesy of AS Monaco FC, Benjamin Lecomte stretches for a save