For the final Ligue 1 fixture before the international break, AS Monaco travelled to the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard to face off against Saint-Etienne. On this occasion, head coach Niko Kovac opted to play a 4-4-2 formation, with a fearsome foursome upfront.
The Monegasques proved to be dangerous right from kick-off. Aleksandr Golovin took the first red and white shot at the 5th minute but just missed his target. Stevan Jovetić followed this effort up with three shots of his own. After two misses, the Montenegrin international found some third-time luck, as his shot took its place in the bottom corner of Saint-Etienne’s goal at the 13th minute.
The hosts would fight back in an attempt to equalise before half-time, but just couldn’t get past Benjamin Lecomte between the Principality posts. At the end of the first half, the Monegasques returned to the locker room with a one goal lead.
The visitors kicked-off the action in the second half with a banger of a goal, courtesy of Monaco youngster Aurélien Tchouameni, who was found in an opportune spot by Golovin. With this, Monaco extended their lead to 0-2 at the 55th minute, but weren’t done just yet.
Capitalising on a defensive error from his opponents, Sofiane Diop made his way deep into Stéphanois territory, before besting the Saint-Etienne goalie with a delightful lob into goal. At the 65th minute, Monaco stood well ahead of their opponents with a scoreline of 0-3.
Despite having already conceded three in a row, Saint-Etienne’s suffering would continue. On a lovely ball from Cèsc Fabregas, Krepin Diatta took his first shot of the match, and with that scored his first goal with his new club. At the 76th minute, the scoreline stood at an impressive 0-4 to the visitors.
The fourth goal would prove to be the last, as Saint-Etienne were unable to get past a fortified red and white defensive line before the final whistle blew. With that, Monaco claimed their fifth clean-sheet in six consecutive matches and move to just one point behind Lyon and Paris in third and second place on the Ligue 1 table.
While firmly ahead of fifth-place Marseille, Niko Kovac and co’ are now putting real pressure on France’s top three. After the international break, Monaco’s next fixture will be against Metz in the French Cup’s Round of 16, at the Stade Louis II on April 3.
Featured image courtesy of AS Monaco, Sofiane Diop celebrates his peachy lob shot goal