AS Monaco claimed a hard-fought and much needed 1-0 win over Olympique de Marseille to secure their first Ligue 1 victory since the 5th of February.
Despite Marseille dominating the first half heavily, which was evidenced by the fact they had 65% possession and outshot Monaco five to one in the first 40 minutes, Monaco showed plenty of character and determination to hold firm to head into the break on level terms.
Too passive and unable to stamp their mark in the opening stanza, Monaco knew something had to change in the second, which is precisely what occurred, as Les Monegasques came out firing, eager to take the game to OM.
Philippe Clement’s men were quickly rewarded for their shift in approach just before the hour mark when Gelson Martins reacted swiftly to Kevin Volland’s shot that cannoned off the post to steer his finish home. While the goal was initially chalked off due to offside, VAR intervened to rightfully award the goal to Les Monegasques.
The away side importantly kept attacking, coming close on many occasions, with Youssouf Fofana’s long range blast most notably just inches wide.
With OM pushing for an equaliser in the closing stages, it was brilliant to see Monaco dig in to claim all three points on a night where they also earned a vital clean sheet.
Delighted with his team’s efforts and ecstatic to return to winning ways, Clement cut a content figure in his post-match interview.
“As I’ve been saying for the past few weeks, sometimes you need to have a bit of luck with you, and not against you, to get results. The last few games, we had more chances than our opponents, but things did not work in our favor, with red cards and own goals,” he explained.
“In the first half tonight, my players respected this Marseille team a little too much. I think we didn’t exploit our recoveries enough. We could have opened the scoring on the play where Jean Lucas was in an offside position and on which Wissam Ben Yedder could have scored. But in the end we earned this victory by playing with courage, and I am very satisfied.”
“The team showed character to pick up all three points in the second half. So certainly we must have even more of a sense of cohesion, and that will continue to develop with the return of Benoît Badiashile, who had not played for two months. But this victory will do us good in moving forward.”
Vanderson the man again
Shining brightly once again for Monaco after his masterful exploits vs. Nantes, Vanderson excelled from his right back post. Doing a terrific job of tracking runners, supporting his backline and winning his defensive duels, his stopping work was of the highest order.
Meanwhile, on the attacking phase, his running power, nicely timed runs, understanding with his teammates and proficiency in possession ensured he contributed well in this area too.
By the numbers, his nine duels won, five clearances, five ball recoveries, three won headers, two tackles, four accurate long passes, three fouls suffered and one dribble demonstrated his all-round contribution.
Europa League awaits
Next up for Monaco after this confidence boosting win over an elite OM outfit is their Europa League Round of 16 clash against Braga, where they’ll be desperate to keep up their positive momentum to record another crucial victory.