On the evening of January 31 AS Monaco travelled North to face off against Ligue 1 rivals Nantes. The principality club has enjoyed an impressive run as of late, winning four matches consecutively. On this occasion, Head Coach Niko Kovac opted to stick with an almost identical starting 11 to that in Monaco’s victory against Marseille.
Right from kick-off, the visiting Monegasques imposed themselves into their opponents’ half of the pitch, but the Nantes defence stood strong. It would actually be the hosts who took the first dangerous shot of the match. However, an outstretched Benjamin Lecomte kept the scoresheet clean.
Over the first 45 minutes of the match, Monaco maintained 70 percent possession of the ball. A red and white goal was looming, and sure enough ASM defender Guillermo Maripán scored just before the first half could conclude. At the 45th Minute ‘El Commandante’ used his head to bring the scoreline to 0-1.
Upon returning to play after halftime, Monaco team captain Wissam Ben Yedder made two decent attempts on goal, but the hosts temporarily dealt with the threat. Not satisfied with a minimal lead, the Monegasques kept pushing. It would take a magnificent pass from midfielder Ciao Henrique to break Nantes. Kevin Volland volleyed the ball straight past the opposing goalie bringing the score to 0-2 at the 62nd minute.
Thereafter, Ben Yedder and Aurélien Tchouameni each took turns to make their own impact on the scoreline, but to no avail. At the 77th minute, Nantes team captain Nicolas Pallois saw red, having previously received a yellow card. Now outnumbered 10 to 11, Nantes persevered, and scored at the 84th minute with a point-blank header.
In the dying moments of the match, Monaco’s defence did not crack, and intervened before any attempt could be made to equalise. As the final whistle was blown, the scoreline stood at 1-2 and Monaco rightfully celebrated yet-another victory, their fifth in a row.
A testimony to Kovac’s leadership, and his men’s determination, this victory brings the podium places of the Ligue 1 table within reach. Paris Saint-Germain sit in third place, just three points ahead of Monaco, and the Principality side is looking poised to soar higher than their Parisian counterparts as they continue to enjoy their top form.
The next match on the calendar is fast approaching, and it is a big one. On the evening of Wednesday, February 3, Monaco will welcome OGC Nice to the Stade Louis II for the Côte d’Azur derby.
Featured image courtesy of @AS_Monaco on Twitter