AS Monaco returned to winning ways in fine fashion by defeating Reims 3-0 away from home.
Desperate to restore some positivity ahead of the international break after their Europa League loss, Les Monegasques did exactly that, in a match where goals from Aleksandr Golovin, Takumi Minamino and Wissam Ben Yedder propelled them to victory.
After an even start to the match that saw both teams enjoy chances, the game was flipped on its head when Bradley Locko received his marching orders in the 22nd minute for following through on Breel Embolo.
Facing off with the now shorthanded Reims, Les Monegasques immediately went to work, eager to capitalise on their numerical superiority. But the home team held firm, making life difficult for Monaco to breach their backline, as the score remained 0-0 at the interval.
The floodgates eventually opened in the second half, though, as Golovin got the ball rolling when he opened the scoring a couple of minutes into the second half when he latched onto a masterful Axel Disasi pass before finishing with aplomb.
A defiant Reims never gave up and even thought they’d equalised through Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun, only for his goal to be ruled out for offside by VAR.
While they had to wait until the dying embers of the clash to seal the victory, quality late strikes from Minamino and Ben Yedder made certain of the deserved 3-0 road victory.
“It’s a good victory for us, to finish a long series of matches every three days. I remind you that we are the team in France which has played the most matches since the start of the season. I am also surprised that we are the only European team to play on Sunday at 1pm. That’s not a lot of rest time. This partly explains the lack of freshness of my players today. But winning here is never easy, so I’m happy to come away with the win,” explained Philippe Clement afterwards.
He then gave his opinion on how he felt Embolo and Ben Yedder fared as a duo, plus his thoughts on Minamino, stating: “It (this game) was an opportunity for us to line up Wissam and Breel together for the first time.
“They weren’t perfect, but that’s normal. I am very happy because Wissam was very committed, and he is rewarded by scoring a nice goal. I’m also happy for Taki (Minamino), who comes in and finishes with a goal and an assist. He was faster, more agile and cooler today. It is very important for trust. The preparation was heavy for him, after months of not playing too much with Liverpool. He now says he feels much better physically.”
By the numbers
Unsurprisingly, the stats tell the story of Monaco’s dominance vs. the ten men of Reims, for they held the ascendancy in terms of possession (68% to 32%), expected goals (1.68 to 0.63), shots (20 to 9), shots inside the box (13 to 5) and big chances created (4 to 0).
International break ahead
Having secured their third straight Ligue 1 triumph, up next is the international break, meaning Monaco’s next match isn’t until the 2nd of October against Nantes at the Stade Louis II.