For their penultimate match of the 2020/21 Ligue 1 season, AS Monaco welcomed Stade Rennes to the Stade Louis II on Sunday, May 16. This fixture would be of upmost importance to the red and whites, who needed a victory to keep their Champions League dream alive.
The match got off to a balanced start as Rennes managed their possession of the ball well, but the visitors didn’t yet dare to challenge Benjamin Lecomte in front of his own goal. After the first 15 minutes of play, Benoît Badiashile recovered the ball and sent it upfield to his hungry attackers.
Team captain Wissam Ben Yedder was fed the ball by Aleksandr Golovin, before the French international deployed what is now becoming a signature finish for him, the chip shot. With that tidy finish, Monaco took an early 1-0 lead at the 16th minute.
Not satisfied by such a slight lead, Nico Kovac’s men kept applying pressure to Rennes, until they eventually cracked again. This time it would be Golovin himself with the goal, and what a goal it was for the Russian midfielder.
Golovin struck the ball from 20 metres out, and a slight deflection from a defending Damien Da Silva was enough to put it in the back of the visitors’ net, making it 2-0 to Monaco at the 29th minute.
Despite a narrow miss from Aurelian Tchouameni, the score remained 2-0 as the first half concluded.
Upon the players’ return to the pitch for the second half, Rennes proved to be more focused on goal, as the visitors took a few long shots early on. However, it would be an own goal that would narrow Monaco’s lead, as Axel Disasi unintentionally beat his own goalie with his head.
At the 70th minute, the scoreline stood at 2-1. The hosts now had the task of finishing the game with the win, and with that in mind, Kovac made some tactical substitutions.
It was not looking good for the visiting Rennes side, and things only went from bad to worse as their captain, Da Silva was awarded a red card and was subsequently sent off as he made a bad tackle at the 85th minute.
From then on it was a simple job for Monaco, who claimed a deserved and all too crucial victory at their home stadium after 90+6 minutes of play.
Both Paris and Lyon won their matches on the same day, so a win for Monaco was absolutely vital, should the red and whites wish to compete in the highly coveted Champions League tournament next season.
Monaco’s final Ligue 1 match will be against Lens on Sunday, May 23. Before then though, the Monegasques must travel to the Stade de France for the Coupe de France tournament’s final against Paris on Wednesday, May 19.
Featured image courtesy of AS Monaco: AS Monaco players enjoy yet another victory, in what has been a very enjoyable 2020/21 season