It has been a tough week for Philippe Clement and co at AS Monaco, having been eliminated from the Europa League by Bayer Leverkusen on penalties, before suffering a startling 0-3 loss to neighbouring rivals OGC Nice days later in a Côte d’Azur Derby to forget on Sunday, February 26.
As is so often the case with derbies in football, the intensity was high right from kick-off in the Stade Louis II, as the Riviera rivals got stuck in. Unfortunately for the hosts, it would be Nice who would open the scoring, courtesy of a Terem Moffi goal on a long cross at only the eighth minute.
The Monegasques attempted to find an early equaliser, but soon found themselves 0-2 down, thanks to another Moffi goal in the 26th minute of the match, to the delight of Nice owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe in the stands.
Again, a young Principality side searched for a goal of their own down the other end of the pitch, but cruelly it would be Nice’s Kephren Thuram who got his name on the scoresheet at the 43rd minute, having been assisted by Moffi who was causing a lot of trouble for the hosts.
Down 0-3 at half time, Clement was forced to drastically overhaul his team with the hope of bringing the situation back or at least under control. The Belgian tactician brought off both Monaco strikers, Breel Embolo and Myron Boadu, replacing them with Wissam Ben Yedder and Aleksandr Golovin. In the same minute Clement brought on Caio Henrique and youngster Edan Diop, who found himself facing his older brother and former Monaco man Sofiane Diop on the pitch.
Despite the mass substitution, and a couple of promising chances, Monaco were unable to impact the scoreline until the final whistle blew. Happy with their first half performance, Nice did not find the net again, and settled for a 0-3 win in the Côte d’Azur Derby and their first against Monaco in the Stade Louis II since 2014.
An afternoon to forget for the hosts and the home fans, as Monaco lose three points which would have kept the club firmly in second place in the Ligue 1 table. With this setback, the Monegasque’s now occupy third place below Marseille, but the difference separating the teams is slight and many more opportunities remain in the season for the Principality side to fight not just for the podium places but for the title. The next opportunity will be against Troyes, away on Sunday, March 5.