Adi Hütter and AS Monaco have crucially won what turned out to be the best Côte d’Azur derby in recent memory, this time beating neighbouring Ligue 1 rivals OGC Nice at the Allianz Riviera Arena on the evening of Sunday, February 11.
After a rather quiet start to the match, Monaco midfielder Denis Zakaria delighted travelling supporters with a wonderful shot from 25 meters out and all the way into the top corner of the Nice net to open the scoring in style at only the 15th minute.
The hosts got stuck in and eventually gained a penalty after a foul by Thilo Kehrer in the Monegasque’s box. Gaëtan Laborde converted the penalty to equalise at the 36th minute.
Not content with just the one goal in this derby, Zakaria scored again, this time with an unstoppable header to regain the lead at the 49th minute. The situation further deteriorated for Nice in the following minutes, as star defender Dante was sent off with a red card for a dodgy challenge on Takumi Minamino, reducing the Niçoise side to 10 men with 30 minutes left to play.
Nice were able to equalise once more, this time through an Evann Guessand header at the 73rd minute. However, the visiting Principality side had one more trick up their sleeve. Aleksandr Golovin found the top corner as he has done so often before, although this time with the most satisfying timing, bringing the score to 2-3 for Monaco at the 76th minute.
A flurry of substitutions and a very lengthy period of injury time followed but no more goals were scored before the final whistle blew to mark an all-important Côte d’Azur derby victory for AS Monaco, which sees the club provisionally climb up to third place in the French championship.
Hütter will be hoping for another win when Monaco host Toulouse at the Stade Louis II on Sunday, February 18.
Featured image: Denis Zakaria