AS Monaco recorded their first loss under Philippe Clement in a pulsating clash against Montpellier at the Stade de la Mosson.
Starting off the match in unsatisfactory fashion, Monaco found themselves down 2-0 within 32 minutes, as Elye Wahi and Stephy Mavididi ensured the home side got off to a flyer. Les Monegasques quickly halved their advantage through Wissam Ben Yedder in the 34th minute, however, to give them plenty of hope for a comeback.
Starting the second half with intent and eager to draw level with La Paillade, Monaco almost did so through Sofiane Diop just before the hour, only for Jonas Omlin to make a sharp save. Clement’s men eventually leveled the ledger courtesy of Vanderson’s remarkable volley, where the Brazilian showed amazing coordination and technique to bag his first goal for the Red and Whites.
Although Monaco controlled possession for large chunks, the threat of Montpellier on the counter remained constant, and they disappointingly succumbed to their menace in transition when Mavididi netted to secure a 3-2 victory in stoppage time for the hosts.
With Rennes and Strasbourg both losing to Clermont Foot and Bordeaux respectively, Monaco had a golden opportunity to shoot up the table. Unfortunately they couldn’t capitalise on this chance to move into fourth, though, as they instead drop back to seventh in the table.
While it wasn’t their night, Monaco can take plenty of encouragement from the fact they held the ascendancy in terms of possession (62% to 38%), shots (17 to 10), chances created (17 to 10), crosses (38 to 17), duels won (65 to 56) and aerials duels won (19 to 16).
Speaking after the match, Clement gave plenty of insight into this entertaining, wild clash that his team disappointingly fell short in. “It was a crazy match, this is true. We started off the match poorly, losing the ball when it wasn’t necessary, and struggled to manage their counter attacks,” he said.
“The next 20-25 minutes were better, as we regained the upper hand. Then when Montpellier scored the second goal, it was difficult to come back. Despite everything, we finished the first half well with a lot of chances and a beautiful goal.
“We really dominated, but we lacked a rhythm to our play offensively. This is quite logical, given the number of absentees, and the fact that some players were not playing in their preferred position. Despite everything, the team’s mentality was very good until the end, battling back to 2-2. We had an opportunity to go ahead, but we conceded this goal which hurts us. Given our domination and perhaps with a little more luck on our side, we deserved better, at least a draw.”
Coupe de France awaits
Next up for Monaco is a colossal clash against Lens in the Coupe de France in a week’s time, where a win would see them not only progress into the quarter finals but also restore some vital momentum after this regrettable loss.