AS Monaco snapped their five game winless streak by overcoming OGC Nice 1-0 in what was a hotly contested Côte d’Azur Derby.
Having not won in Ligue 1 action since the opening day, AS Monaco knew they needed to produce the goods against their rivals to inject some life back into their season. And this is exactly what they did by putting in an accomplished display to claim a crucial victory on the road.
Fresh from losing to Troyes last time out, Les Monegasques were desperate to avoid a repeat of this result, as they started the game solidly. Organised, determined and disciplined, Philippe Clement’s men importantly kept things tight at the back while still providing an offensive threat.
Growing into the game as the first half wore on, much encouragement could be drawn from their controlled possession phases and the promising chances they created. While both teams enjoyed some decent looks on goal, the score remained 0-0 at the interval.
Coming out for the second stanza with intent, Monaco came close courtesy of efforts from Aleksandr Golovin, Krepin Diatta and Youssouf Fofana, who had a goal disallowed for offside. They’re persistence eventually paid off, however, for Breel Embolo gave the away team the lead in the 69th minute when the Swiss international assertively nodded home Caio Henrique’s sublime delivery.
From here, it was admirable how well Monaco managed their lead and nullified Nice, on a night where Les Rouge et Blanc ran out victors to not only secure all three points but also extend their unbeaten run over Les Aiglons to six matches.
“I think we could have done better in the first half, especially with the ball,” explained a content Clement afterwards. “I spoke to my players in the locker room telling them that I wanted them to show more. But it’s normal that it’s not perfect because it’s still the start of the season, in a new system and with three new players, Mohamed Camara, Malang Sarr and Breel Embolo. Automation is therefore not necessarily there yet.”
“Winning here, however, gives a lot of confidence, especially as we know how important it is for the players, the club, the management and the supporters to win the Derby. It’s good for morale and we have to continue like this.
“Today, we showed a strong reaction a few days after the match against Troyes, with the circumstances that we know. It gives confidence. It will be necessary to confirm on Thursday against Red Star Belgrade then against Lyon on Sunday. These are two big games that still await us.”
By the numbers
Holding the ascendancy in many key metrics, such as total shots (14 to 12), expected goals (1.06 to 0.76), passes in the opposition half (270 to 132), tackles won (12 to 7), ground duels won (37 to 35) and aerial duels won (14 to 9), this illustrated what good value Monaco were for the win.
Moreover, the five saves made by Alexander Nubel in goal also warranted praise, for the German’s heroics were integral towards helping his team come out on top while keeping a clean sheet.
Next up for Monaco is the first clash of their Europa League campaign where they’ll be facing Red Star Belgrade ahead of their colossal Ligue 1 meeting with Lyon on Sunday.