AS Monaco’s journey in the Europa League tournament has come to an unfortunate end, as the red and whites were unable to beat Braga on aggregate in the second leg of their Round of 16 encounter at the Stade Louis II on Thursday, March 17.
Having lost 2-0 away to Portuguese Primera Liga side Braga, the Monaco men had to overcome the two-goal deficit under the floodlights of Stade Louis II, and for this challenge head coach Philippe Clement chose to arrange his men in a 4-4-2 formation.
The Braga defence line proved to be frustratingly solid in the face of Monaco’s many offensive forays, and it would be the visitors who would score first, extending their lead by one more goal at the 19th minute.
Alexander Nübel made a fantastic save on a shot attempted by Andre Castro, but Abel Ruiz got to the deflected ball and fired it into the back of the net from 25 metres out, after a deflection by Nübel in his attempt to save the shot.
This early deficit saw a growing sense of urgency among the hosts, who turned the pressure up in turn. Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland pushed to equalise, but both players had their shots denied before the first half could conclude.
Upon returning from the locker room, Ben Yedder had his shot blocked again, as did Volland. The visitors looked to extend their lead in the 60th minute through Ruiz again, but Nübel managed to keep him at bay this time.
A triple substitution on the Principality side did not ease the situation for Monaco and their supporters, as the minutes ticked by towards full time with a loss looming over the horizon.
Axel Disasi managed to head in a corner from Aleksandr Golovin, rising high above the crowd to equalise at the 90th minute, but this would not be enough in the end.
Despite having trumped their opponents in every statistic, Monaco finished their match with a 1-1 draw, and their Europa League campaign with a 1-3 loss on aggregate. With that, the Monegasques European adventure comes to an end this season, leaving many supporters very vocally bemused with this outcome.
Monaco next match is already fast approaching, and it’s a big one, as the Principality side will host Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain in the Stade Louis II on Sunday, March 20.
Featured image courtesy of AS Monaco, Axel Disasi heads it home at the 90th minute