In what was a truly remarkable match at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, AS Monaco lost 4-3 against Lille despite leading midway through the second half.
Jumping out of the blocks rapidly, Les Monegasques immediately stamped their mark through their pressing and purposeful offensive forays, which led to some decent openings.
Les Dogues then began to find their rhythm and clinically broke the deadlock, with Alexsandro blasting home his header from close range following a sweet cross from Adam Ounas.
Looking for an instant response, Caio Henrique’s long range free kick that slipped through Lucas Chevalier’s hands got them back on level terms in the 34th minute. Their momentum didn’t last long, however, for Remy Cabella scored from point blank range shortly after to put Lille ahead again.
Philippe Clement’s men then capped off a pulsating first half when Axel Disasi levelled the ledger just before the interval, as the two teams were locked at 2-2 at the break.
The amazing spectacle continued into the second stanza, with Wissam Ben Yedder propelling Monaco into the lead in the 53rd minute after he smartly dispossessed Tiago Djalo before applying a wicked chipped finish.
Keeping with the theme of the match, more drama was just around the corner, as Cabella got Lille back on level terms courtesy of his smart finish. Not content with that, Jonathan Bamba scored to swing the match back in favour of Lille 20 minutes from time to make it 4-3.
Despite their best efforts to get back into it, Monaco’s six game league unbeaten run ultimately came to an end, in a clash that also marked their first Ligue 1 defeat since August 31.
“As I said before the match, I expected a spectacular meeting with two attacking teams who wanted to win. I think the neutral spectators liked this encounter. We were close to winning as we had chances to score the 4-2 goal,” explained the Belgian manager.
“We were missing an important player with the absence of Mohamed Camara, it’s more complicated without him. But today we lost together, it’s not the fault of one or two players. This week, we put a lot of focus on head-to-head duels. We still have to grow and the young players also have to gain power and intensity in these duels.
“I only have fun when we win. I don’t like this type of match in case of defeat. Tonight, we were very close to winning, and everyone would have been happy. It’s not a meeting where the players made no effort, but rather lacked a a bit of realism to lead 4-2. This should serve as a lesson for us to work on in the coming weeks. We must now react Thursday against Ferencvaros in the Europa League.”
By the numbers, the fact Lille bettered Monaco in terms of total shots (20 to 9), shots inside the box (13 to 6), expected goals (2.33 to 1.29), possession (60% to 40%) and completed passes in the opposition half (168 to 138) underlined the immense threat Paulo Fonseca’s side posed.
Dropping down to seventh in the Ligue 1 table as a result of this crushing loss, Monaco will be desperate to get back on the winners list and restore some positivity when they travel to Hungary to face off with Ferencvaros in the Europa League.