AS Monaco bowed out of the Coupe de France in heartbreaking fashion by losing a thrilling semi final on penalties to Nantes.
Getting off to an eventful opening, which was a sign of things to come, both teams almost scored within the first seven minutes. It wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken, however, with Guillermo Maripan’s exceptional glancing header giving Monaco the lead following a superb delivery from Vanderson.
The Chilean stopper then turned from hero to villain, as his sloppy pass allowed Nantes to break forward on the counter, in a move that unfortunately ended in Djibril Sidibe unluckily turning the ball into his own net.
With the score 1-1 at the break and the game in the balance, it was Nantes who took the lead after a goal mouth scramble that Samuel Moutoussamy reacted sharpest to by poking home his finish from close range on 74 minutes.
Les Monegasques replied almost immediately when Myron Boadu rose brilliantly to latch onto another masterful cross from Vanderson to power home his header.
Seeing as either team was able to find a winner in the closing stages, a dreaded penalty shootout would decide who’d join Nice in the final. And it was Nantes who ultimately prevailed by converting all of their penalties while misses from Wissam Ben Yedder and Aurelien Tchouameni saw Monaco fall agonisingly short.
“I’m disappointed, it’s normal, because it could have been different. It was a good game, on both sides. We scored two goals here, which is a difficult thing. We are in a period where we are struck by bad luck, with in particular two goals against our side in the last two games. I’m really disappointed because my players did a lot of good things, we created a lot of chances, but in the end the success was not on our side, especially in the penalty shootout.
“We still have a lot of games to play and we are still involved in two competitions, which is not the case for all clubs. We therefore remain ambitious and we want to give everything to turn the odds on our side, starting from Sunday evening in Marseille.”
Stamping his mark emphatically on the contest, the Brazilian’s contribution was very impressive indeed. Chiming in with a pair of excellent assists, one on his right foot and one on his left, he vindicated Philippe Clement’s decision to hand him a start in such a huge match.
Producing the goods on the right wing on both sides of the ball, his three key passes, two dribbles, four accurate crosses, two completed long balls and six successful defensive actions accentuated his strong body of work.
By the numbers
On a night where Monaco dominated large periods and looked in control, the fact they had the upper hand in terms of possession (56% to 44%), shots on target (5 to 4), big chances created (2 to 1), tackles won (15 to 10), ground duels won (50 to 37) and aerial duels won (20 to 14) depicted their ascendancy in many key metrics.
Huge clash with Marseille ahead
Needing to immediately regroup and refocus in the aftermath of this cruel end to their cup campaign, Monaco face a colossal clash against Marseille on the weekend, where they’ll be desperate to return to winning ways after having now gone four matches without tasting victory.