Despite showing more attacking intent and looking the more dangerous side, AS Monaco fell to Olympique de Marseille 2-1 at the Orange Velodrome.
Goals from Florian Thauvin and Dario Benedetto inside the first 15 minutes, their only two shots on target for the match, were enough for a clinical Marseille to win. Although Monaco never gave up and kept pushing, by the time Wissam Ben Yedder pegged a goal back from the penalty spot in the 79th minute, time was against them to find an equaliser.
In what was a largely positive showing with much upside, it was frustrating Monaco couldn’t capitalise on their superiority. The fact Les Monegasques had more shots (nine to five), possession (60.9 % to 39.1%), passes (578 to 370) and crosses (21 to 10) demonstrated the control they enjoyed.
Naming an unchanged lineup for this clash, Niko Kovac recognised the need for defensive changes by replacing the tired Benoit Badiashile with Guillermo Maripan and Caio Henrique with Fode Ballo-Toure, which worked well as Monaco enjoyed an improved second half.
In his post match comments, Kovac cut a disappointed figure while offering an insightful assessment of how things unfolded. “We conceded two goals from two shots in the first quarter of an hour, so that necessarily changed the face of the game. Until half-time the game was balanced,” he stated.
“Then we really dominated the match in the second half, but Marseille defended very deep, playing really close to their area. We tried to come back into it in the dying minutes of the game, but it was not enough. The first fifteen minutes cost us too much.”
Having now lost two on the trot, Monaco will quickly turn their attention to their must win home match against RC Lens on Wednesday night. Needing a positive result against a hard to beat Lens outfit, Kovac will be expecting a big performance from his troops, who can’t afford to drop any more points despite playing well.