After a busy and successful few weeks in their home stadium, AS Monaco hosted Dijon FCO at the Stade Louis II for a Ligue 1 fixture on Sunday, April 11. On this occasion, head coach Niko Kovac opted to play a 4-2-3-1 formation marked by the absence of star striker Kevin Volland in the starting lineup.
The Monegasques kicked the match off well with three shots at Dijon’s goal in the first 10 minutes. Meanwhile, visiting Dijon were just focussing on keeping their hosts at bay. At the 24th minute, Monaco’s Guillermo Maripan headed it home from a corner, but was caught offside.
After an altogether slow first half, the scoreline stood at an empty 0-0. To try to change that in the second half, Kovac brought on Wissam Ben Yedder and Cesc Fàbregas.
Team captain Ben Yedder wasted no time in making an impact, as the French international was fouled by Ecuele Manga at the 49th minute, and was subsequently awarded a penalty. Ben Yedder’s shot was deflected by the goalie, but an opportunistic Stevan Jovetić was able to get to the ball and knock it between the posts to give Monaco a 1-0 lead at the 50th minute.
While Dijon may have struggled to even get onto Monaco’s side of the pitch, they did prove to be dangerous on a handful of occasions. However, a sturdy last line of defence in Benjamin Lecomte guarded the Principality’s posts well.
Magic Monaco midfielder Aleksandr Golovin then found Ben Yedder with a clean pass, before the captain doubled the lead with a clean finish, bringing the scoreline to 2-0 at the 63rd minute.
With 15 minutes remaining in the match, Kovac brought on Krépin Diatta, Eliot Matazo and Fodé Ballo-Touré. The mass substitution breathed new life into the game, and before long Dijon suffered another penalty-inducing foul, and who better to step up to the spot than Ben Yedder himself.
This time around, the captain was able to convert his penalty, and with that sealed Dijon’s fate as the scoreline grew to 3-0 at the 90th minute.
After a very one-sided second half, Monaco emerged triumphant yet again, and celebrated not only the consolidation of third place on the Ligue 1 table, but also their fourth clean sheet in a row. The Monegasques sit safely on the podium for another week, just one point behind Paris in second place and one ahead of Lyon just below.
For their next fixture, Kovac and co’ will be travelling to Bordeaux for a regular Ligue 1 match on Sunday, April 18.
Featured image courtesy of AS Monaco