An unfortunate AS Monaco suffered a frustrating loss in front of home fans at the Stade Louis II on Sunday, March 12, dropping precious points as the fight for a podium finish at the end of the 2022/23 Ligue 1 season continues.
The Monegasques got off to a promising start, piling the pressure onto their visitors, and coming close to opening the scoring on handful of occasions. Monaco captain Wissam Ben Yedder lead the charge, making a couple of forays into the Reims box, but often without enough support around him to take it all the way.
Despite a few close chances, the scoreline remained empty going into half time. Both teams got stuck right in upon returning from the locker rooms, but it was almost Monaco’s Vanderson with the first goal of the match. The Brazilian nearly celebrated his return to the team with a goal, but a the ball dinked the post instead.
Then, to the dismay of the home fans, Reims golden boy Folarin Balogun scored for Reims. The striker hid just beyond the offside line before making an explosive dash behind Monaco’s defensive line to find himself facing Alexander Nübel one on one, and getting a successful shot off before Axel Disasi could reach him. Balogun is not just a thorn in the Monegasques’ side, as the 21 year-old has scored against each of the top five teams in the Ligue 1 table.
Balogun’s startling effort put Reims ahead 0-1 at the 51st minute, leaving the hosts to search for an equaliser. At the hour mark, Philippe Clement made a double substitution, bringing on Breel Embolo and Ismail Jakobs to revitalise his team.
A reinforced Monaco side put up a fight but ultimately failed to make a comeback before the final whistle, leaving them without any points from this fixture. The loss brings Monaco down to fourth place in the Ligue 1 table below Lens, but the margin separating the teams behind Paris Saint-Germain at the top is still slim, and the match against Ajaccio on Sunday, March 19 will provide the perfect opportunity for Clement and co to get back to winning ways.
Featured image courtesy of AS Monaco