Appearing in control and leading 1-0 heading into the final 10 minutes of the match, everything unfortunately unravelled in the closing stages for AS Monaco against Reims, as they ultimately fell to a 2-1 defeat.
Despite being without regulars Aurelien Tchouameni and Caio Henrique due to suspension, Monaco started the match strongly, asserting their class against the away team and enjoying plenty of goalscoring opportunities in the first 20 minutes. Unable to convert any of these, Reims then made a push of their own by creating some dangerous attacks.
With the score 0-0 at half time, Les Monegasques hit the front through Wissam Ben Yedder in the 55th minute, not long after Reims had struck the woodwork. Finishing in true style this goal was not only his 22nd of the season but also Monaco’s 3500th league goal.
Les Monegasques then quickly went in search to double their lead, but they just couldn’t extend their advantage even though they conjured some quality openings. They were ultimately made to pay, as Kevin Volland unluckily conceded an own goal before Nathanael Mbuku dealt the devastating blow by scoring in stoppage time after Jean Lucas had been sent off.
A disappointing end indeed to a match that Monaco appeared destined to obtain three points from.
“I am very disappointed not to have taken all three points today. We play every match to win, but we were not rewarded for our efforts today. The players created good chances, and were very dominant. We did the hardest part by opening the scoring. But we were playing against a very well organised Reims side, and we lacked a bit of luck on the equaliser,” he lamented.
“The first Reims goal was pure bad luck. Then we suffered a red card following a moment of frustration. Jean Lucas was very good in the game until then. I think he has improved a lot in recent weeks. Then we ended up playing with ten against eleven, and the team did everything to win. But at that time, we were unfortunately a bit naive in conceding the second goal. It’s hard to lose all three points after the first 84 minutes my players delivered.”
Dominating in many key metrics, the fact Monaco bettered their foes in terms of possession (69% to 31%), shots (18 to 12), corners (10 to 3), duels won (61 to 54) and successful dribbles (22 to 8) illustrated their ascendancy.
Although he was helpless to prevent Volland’s own goal and Mbuku’s winner, Alexander Nubel produced an excellent display between the posts for Monaco. Showcasing his quick movement, sharp reflexes and all-round shot-stopping prowess, the German keeper made a host of wonderful saves to deny Reims.
Commanding his area well and doing all he could to help his team, his six saves, two high claims and 13 recoveries depicted his strong body of work.
Nantes next up in cup semi
Having not won their last three matches, Clement’s men will be desperate to return to the winners’ list when they take on Nantes in their Coupe de France semi-final.
Considering the Canaries have recently defeated Paris Saint-Germain and are typically a tough team to break down, Monaco will need to be on top of their game to book their place in the final.
In the stands: The Monegasque bobsledders join Prince Albert II
Accompanied by his children, the Hereditary Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, Prince Albert II was present at the Louis II to applaud Rudy Rinaldi and Boris Vain, the two bobsledders from the Principality who added to Monaco’s Olympic sporting history by finishing sixth in the last Winter Olympics in Beijing.