En Avant Guingamp and AS Monaco had the opportunity to tangle once again yesterday evening. Sharing the bottom of the Ligue 1 table (20th and 19th respectively), this confrontation was for the semifinal of the Coupe de la Ligue. The match would decide which team would be destined for the tournament’s final.

This match was the first opportunity for Gelson Martins to display his skill set to his new French fans.  In equally as important news, Leonardo Jardim, sacked at the end of the year 2018, made his return to the ASM bench since the departure of Thierry Henry.

The match started off on the wrong foot for Jardim’s men as new recruit William Vainqueur was excluded from the match in the 14th minute after a nasty tackle on Marcus Thuram. The exclusion, however, appeared to wake the groggy Monegasque players. They switched to a back 4, with Jemerson moving a bit up the pitch. Five minutes later, Gelson Martins worked down the left side of the pitch before serving Rony Lopes. The Portuguese player lifted the ball and finished with a stylish scissor that ended up at the back of the net (0-1, 19′).

The second half and beyond

As the Breton attacks began to multiply, Monaco was able to counter and find the chinks in their defense. After a Guingamp corner,   Rony Lopes retrieved the ball and found new teammate Gelson Martins. The former Sporting CP sent the ball to Aleksandr Golovin finished from a near-impossible angle, using the post to change the scoreline once again (0-2, 24′). Despite a few dangerous chances from their adversaries, Jardim’s players went back to the locker room with a solid lead.  The start of the second half, however, would mark the signs of what would come. Badiashile’s poor clearance led to Mendy beating Glik before sliding the ball past Subasic (1-2, 46′).

The following sequences showed Guingamp pushing for an equalizer that would eventually be delivered by Marcus Thuram. Thuram’s angled shot from a distance left no chance to an outstretched Subasic (2-2, 55′). Though Guingamp continued to threaten, Subasic and his defense held up at each occasion. Monaco’s offense provided little excitement and regulation time ended with a draw.  In anticipation of the penalty shootout, Guingamp changed goalkeepers for the specialist Marc-Aurèle Caillard. He would prove the hero of the night as the Breton team won the shootout 5-4.