On February 10 AS Monaco took a break from Ligue 1 and travelled to the Stade des Alpes to face off against Grenoble FC in the 64th round of the 2021 Coupe de France. Leading up to this fixture, the Grenoblois managed to remain undefeated on home ground this year, and currently occupy fourth place in Ligue 2.
On this occasion, head coach Niko Kovac brought out the best of the AS Monaco Academy’s players. Steven Jovetić was joined by Pietro Pellegri up front, instead of the usual Ben Yedder and Volland combo. The rest of the field saw a mix of youth and experience as Eliot Matazo, Enzo Millot and Chrislain Matsima joined the likes of Cesç Fabregas and Ruben Aguilar.
The match got off to a smooth start for the red and whites, as they pressed hard and high. However, Grenoble goalkeeper Esteban Salles remained attentive on his line and kept the visitors at bay. It would take a stinging low ball from Jovetić to grasp Monaco the lead at the 36th minute. The Montenegrin striker finally found the back of the net after a few frustrating missed chances.
Grenoble’s first real threat to the Monegasques arrived at the 61st minute, but was squandered by a hurried Achille Anani. The Principality’s defenders remained focused and responsive throughout the encounter, as they seemed to follow the lead of the team captain on the day, Axel Disasi.
As the minutes rolled by and the last quarter of an hour of play dawned, Kovac substituted in some usual starters in order to preserve the score until the final whistle. Caio Henrique, Aurélien Tchouaméni and Aleksandr Golovin joined the party, the latter having scored his first career hat-trick against Nîmes. At the 87th minute Golovin took another chance at glory, but Salles intervened.
Several more strikes later and the first fixture of the Coupe de France was complete. Monaco left the Stade des Alpes with a close 1-0 win, but a win nevertheless, and the eighth consecutive win in all competitions. The last time the red and whites held such a streak was back in 1997.
The Monegasques therefore qualify for the Round of 16 of the Coupe de France. AS Monaco’s next match will be against FC Lorient at the Stade Louis II on February 14. Here’s to hoping that Monaco can maintain their magic momentum.
Featured image courtesy of AS Monaco