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Champions League: AS Monaco loses to Atletico Madrid, finishes last in group

Monaco's Colombian forward Radamel Falcao reacts after missing a penalty kick during the UEFA Champions League group A football match between Atletico Madrid and Monaco at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on November 28, 2018. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP) (Photo credit should read OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP/Getty Images)

AS Monaco traveled to Spain to face Atletico Madrid in the lovely Wanda Metropolitano stadium. Before coming into the match, the Monegasques were already eliminated, while the Atletico was playing for first place in the group. The match still held importance for Thierry Henry’s club, who could still qualify for next year’s Europa League competition by securing third place in the group.

Like with many of the team’s recent matches, the French skipper was without many experienced players such as Subasic, Jovetic, Lopes, Glik, Aholo, and Sidibé. In their stead, Biancone, Massengo, and Sylla started the match. The youthful Monaco side was faced with a more regular Atletico, which was just lacking Diego Costa in the starting lineup. Besides his absence, Diego Godin, and Saúl started the game on the bench.

The result

Not surprisingly, Atletico took all three points on the table, winning 2-0 in front of their home crowd. The match started badly for AS Monaco, who let in a goal off a deflected shot by Koké just 90 seconds after the opening whistle.  The redirected strike caught goalkeeper Benaglio flat-footed, setting the tone for Atletico Madrid to take control early on (1-0, 2nd minute). Frenchman Thomas Lemar flirted with a second goal in the 8th minute, as a wonderfully struck free-kick glanced the outside of the post. Atletico’s second goal would come in the middle of the first half after Angel Correa showed some tidy footwork in the box and found Antoine Griezmann who slipped the ball over the line (2-0, 24th minute).


Young Monaco was outmatched

The young Monegasque side, a mishmash of reserves and youth players, did not measure up to the experienced talent of their adversaries. Each Atletico offensive sent waves of panic through the Monegasque defense. Simeone’s players maintained control of the game’s rhythm throughout the full 90. Monaco did not even create their first shooting opportunity before the 45th minute. It was off-frame. In the first half, AS Monaco had to wait until the 45th minute to sign their first shot at Jan Oblak’s cage. a header from Badiashile on a free kick, not framed. In the second half, Atletico appeared to slow down the pace – conserving energy against a lesser opponent.

Even with Falcao’s entry on to the pitch in the 55th minute, Monaco never really looked threatening. Atletico’s Savic was sent off in the 82nd minute for bringing the ball down with his hand. However, Falcao, formerly of Atletico, even managed to miss the resulting penalty in the 84th minute.  More of the same from this greatly reduced side who cannot seem to find their way…

Henry will need to focus his team’s efforts on Ligue 1 results to save Monaco (currently 19th) from relegation.

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AS Monaco’s next match is against Montpellier in Ligue 1 play – Saturday, December 1st, 8 PM.

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