AS Monaco came away 2-1 victors over OGC Nice in an enthralling derby clash at the Allianz Riviera.
Goals from Axel Disasi and Sofiane Diop were enough to secure all three points, as Les Monegasques leapfrogged their rivals in the Ligue 1 table. Now sitting joint fifth in the standings just one behind Rennes and Marseille, Niko Kovac was delighted with the result and the performance. “It’s been a few years since AS Monaco won in Nice, so it’s a great satisfaction for the team and the supporters,” Kovac explained.
“I offer my congratulations to my players who played very good football, especially in the first thirty minutes when we were close to perfection. We were able to create a lot of opportunities for ourselves and logically managed to open the scoring. We have conceded only one chance to our opponents in the last two games, it is a sign that we are progressing, both on the defensive side of things and offensively. I think this victory is deserved.”
Making just the one change to the side that thumped Bordeaux last weekend, as Vito Mannone replaced the injured Benjamin Lecomte in goal, who disappointingly broke his hand in training, Monaco were once again excellent in their base 4-4-2/4-2-3-1 formation.
Getting off to a brilliant start with efforts from Kevin Volland and Wissam Ben Yedder hitting the woodwork early on, this set the tone for the away side. The dynamic duo then came close shortly after with quality individual efforts again, as Monaco looked dangerous in the early exchanges.
Importantly, Monaco rewarded themselves for their fine start when Disasi nodded home Youssouf Fofana’s slick corner in the 23rd minute.
Heading into the break with a 1-0 lead, Diop snatched possession before racing away to apply a neat finish between the legs of Walter Benitez to double the lead for the away side on 53 minutes. Nice then reacted sharply by pulling a goal back courtesy of Pierre Lees-Melou.
Wanting to reinforce his team defensively in the closing stages, Kovac introduced Florentino Luis to shore things up in midfield, as Les Rouges et Blanc held firm to secure the win.
Controlling proceedings expertly for large chunks and crucially converting two of the many quality chances they created, Monaco head into the international break on a high following their accomplished derby triumph.