On the back of a four-match consecutive winning streak, the boys in red and white travelled up north to face off against Ligue 1 rivals Lille OSC on Sunday, December 6. Without a moment to spare after kick-off, AS Monaco were playing the ball deep into enemy territory and as a result were the first to take some shots. Full backs Ruben Aguilar and Caio Henrique were the first to present a threat to Lille. Minutes later it would be Wissam Ben Yedder who was denied by Lille goalie, Mike Maignan, who was doing his best impression of being a wall between the goal posts.
The 11th minute saw the first attempt by Lille to change the scoreline, but Jonathan David was stopped by an ever-vigilant Monegasque defence. At the 13th minute, Monaco’s ‘golden boy’ Sofiane Diop was the first player of either side to take a shot on target, but Maignan got to the ball again. What ensued thereafter was a game of tactics, played well by two organised teams, as they ping-ponged the ball back and forth on the pitch of the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
The second half saw Monaco be the first to go on the offensive again as Kevin Volland took his chances following a cut-back from Ben Yedder at the 47th minute, but to no avail. Just two minutes later, Monaco’s man in goal Vito Mannone calmly dealt with a long free kick and made his second save of the afternoon. However, there was nothing he could do to prevent Jonathan David scoring Lille’s first goal at the 53rd minute. Lille Coach Christophe Galtier then swapped out his goal scorer for Yusuf Yazici who then also became a goal scorer at the 65th minute following a cut-back from his teammate.
As Monaco stood 2-0 down against their hosts, Head Coach Niko Kovac sent all of his attacking players onto the pitch in a last ditch effort to bridge the gap, and bridge the gap it did. Monaco’s Pietro Pellegri then managed to control the ball with his chest before finding the back of Lille’s net with his left foot at the 90th minute. What was Pellegri’s first goal of the season for the Principality side, wasn’t quite enough to send Monaco back down south with a fifth consecutive win under their belts.
It was always going to be a tough match-up for both teams, but, nevertheless, Lille remain in second place on the Ligue 1 table, just below Paris Saint-Germain. Monaco meanwhile keep calm and carry on in fifth place as they set their sights on their next fixture, which will be against Marseille. Another challenge then, but one which Kovac and co should be able to manage and conquer.
Featured image courtesy of AS Monaco, Pietro Pellegri was Monaco’s only goalscorer against top ‘Dogues’ Lille