After Monaco’s unfortunate last few fixtures, which saw them lose to Lille, Marseille and Lens, Head Coach Niko Kovac would most certainly be hoping for a better result as the red and whites travelled to Burgundy to face off against Dijon. Perhaps spurred on by this losing streak, Monaco were the first to make a move towards their opponents goal after kick-off.
Well paced and spaced ball movement saw the red and whites settle into the host’s half of the pitch, but Dijon’s defence kept Monaco from breaking through. That was until the 15th minute, in which Kevin Volland moved the ball upfield before offloading it to the team captain, Wissam Ben Yedder. In turn, Ben Yedder squared the ball up for Volland who did not hesitate to boot it into the top corner. This would be the Germans sixth goal for the Principality Side, whom he joined from Bayer Leverkusen in the last transfer window.
With the scoreline at 0-1 at the 15th minute, the Monaco men were jubilant in their celebrations but knew that they couldn’t afford to become complacent and so the offensive onslaught continued. Monaco midfielder Gelson Martins met a cross with his head but that was blocked by Dijon’s Sacha Boey. Then, Aurélien Tchouameni made his own attempt on goal with a strike at the 28th minute, which was kept at bay by Dijon’s attentive goalkeeper, Anthony Racioppi. The hosts went on to fight back just before the second half, but a goal from Dina Ebimbe was disallowed as the player was offside.
As the second half kicked off, so did the action, as both sides battled it out. While the game was balanced, Monaco managed to sneak up on Dijon’s goal. Benoit Badiashile had his close-range shot blocked by Racioppi. Minutes later, Volland tried his luck with a long shot from beyond the box, but to no avail. Monaco’s newly signed goalkeeper Vito Mannone crucially saved two consecutive shots by Ebimbe at the 79th and 90th minutes. In the closing moments of the match, Monaco’s Pietro Pellegri bested Racioppi in a one-on-one to put the ball in the back of the net. Unfortunately, the striker was ruled offside.
Regardless of the last minute mishap, Monaco walk away from their trip to Burgundy with three critically important points. After enjoying a four game winning streak and enduring a three game losing streak, the red and whites found themselves in ninth place ahead of the Dijon clash. Now, though, Monaco sit in seventh place on the Ligue 1 table, while Dijon occupy an unenviable 20th place.
On Wednesday, December 23, Kovac and Co. will face off against St-Étienne under the floodlights of Stade Louis II.
Featured Image courtesy of AS Monaco: Kevin Volland celebrates his crucial early goal