The wait has been long, far too long, but absence has made the happiness double! By earning their first win of the season on the night of the derby against OGC Nice (3-1), Leonardo Jardim’s players have finally shown their true face, both conquering and cohesive.

The man of the match was undeniably Aleksandr Golovin, author of two world-class goals and moves – a performance that was highly anticipated by club president Dmitri Rybolovlev and his vice president Oleg Petrov.

A thrilling match with intense phases of play that ultimately produced a logical winner: AS Monaco. On this derby evening that attracted many Nice fans leading to an impressive stadium crowd, the display did not disappoint, as is often the case when the two teams from the coast face each other. The case was indecisive until the 74th minute when Slimani served Golovin who stunned Benitez from the penalty spot. Two minutes later, a crashing Ben Yedder scored the goal to seal the win.

Fabregas lively, Golovin gigantic

Before these decisive goals, each team had a chance. Early on, the match was clearly Nice’s. After a nice Monegasque reaction (Dias off the post, 16th) suddenly, the cannon was fired as Golovin sent a missile into the top bin (28th). ASM doubled the lead, though VAR almost canceled Slimani’s goal. From the start of the second half, Nice took matters into hand with Burner’s equalizer, another powerful, unstoppable shot that beat Lecomte, a well-deserved goal (54th). You know the rest of the story.

What should we take away from this derby and this first victory? Solidarity found with a strong Badiashile in this 5-man defense, a brilliant midfield 3 with a Fabregas who reminded us of his Arsenal days, a Bakayoko who is rising in form, and a Golovin who, at that rate, will become one of the big stars of the French season. Yesterday, the Russian showed his technical ease and precision in front of the goal; He is the first Russian player to score two goals in a match in France in the last 25 years.

This winning derby for the Monegasques stresses the effectiveness of the strategy adopted by the management of the club, which has been patient. Despite numerous calls for the sacking of Jardim, which doubled before the match on Tuesday night, Dmitri Rybolovlev preferred to tweak the current team. The establishment of Fabregas as captain, as well as the arrival of Golovin last year – the first Russian to join the Monegasques since Rybolovlev took over the club in 2011 – are beginning to bear fruit.

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Next Saturday, facing Brest, also at the Stade Louis II, ASM intends to stay the course towards victory. “We have our heads on our shoulders and we are continuing to work,” said Jardim after the match.

Now the season has really started for Monaco!

Photo credit: ASM official website

*Article originally published in the French edition of the Monaco Tribune.