The Riviera derby between Monaco and OGC Nice on the 17th day of Ligue 1 play ended in a 1-1 draw.
The highly anticipated clash between Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, former teammates turned opposing derby coaches, did not provide a victor. Forced to compose a team without his new recruits, the Monegasque coach maintained his usual tactical pattern in 3-4-3 against his neighbors from OGC Nice.
AS Monaco showed desire and tenacity from the start, characterized by a Golovin opportunity in the third minute. Nevertheless, if the Monegasques seemed to be the more offensive team on the field as illustrated by a dangerous attempt from Rony Lopes in the first half-hour (28 ‘), it was OGC Nice who would open the scoring thanks to Saint-Maximin who sped by Jemerson and beat keeper Diego Benaglio in a one-on-one duel. Patrick Vieira’s men would return to the locker room with the advantage, but also down one player following the expulsion of Sakho for a dangerous spikes-up tackle on Henrichs. Score at half-time: 0-1 for Nice.
Now with numerical superiority, the Rouge et Blancs would equalize just five minutes after the second half whistle. The goal was the result of a Benoît Badiashile header, who was served by Lopes. Sidibé and Falcao would make their entrance in the 70th minute, giving a welcome boost to a Monegasque team that was already playing well. Matters took a turn for the worse, however, when OGC Nice earned a penalty after Badiashile fouled Atal in the box. Fortunately for the Monegasques, Benaglio would manage a firm two-handed stop against Saint-Maximin’s shot (77 ‘).
Falcao came close to giving his team the lead with a shot from outside the box but it glanced off the post of Benitez (84 ‘). Final score: 1-1. The two neighbors Riviera shared the points. Monaco continues to fight their way out of the relegation zone, but has only mustered its second consecutive draw in two matches and remains in 19th place.
Next match: Saturday, January 19th at the Stade Louis II against Strasbourg for the 21st day of L1 play.
*Originally published on the French edition of the Monaco Tribune.