Without a win in their last four matches, AS Monaco stopped this undesirable streak by recording a comfortable 2-0 win over Angers.
With Monaco wanting to control possession and Angers content to sit deep in the early exchanges, the game kicked off at a leisurely pace, as both teams eased into proceedings.
The match then roared into life in the 19th minute, however, as Angers were awarded a penalty, which was rightfully rescinded following a VAR check. The two sides then shared some decent openings, with both eager to jump out to a first half lead.
Monaco were then represented with a golden opportunity to take the lead when Wissam Ben Yedder won a penalty in the 39th minute. But the little maestro unfortunately had his spot kick saved.
Heading into the interval at 0-0, Philippe Clement’s men finally took the lead within 10 minutes of the restart when Breel Embolo coolly finished substitute Vanderson’s superb cross.
The Belgian tactician’s decision to bring on Aleksandr Golovin then immediately paid dividends too, for the Russian found the back of the net 20 minutes from time with a sublime effort from the edge of the box to mark his 150th appearance for Monaco in style.
Managing the remainder of the game with clarity, Monaco ultimately did enough to return to winning ways while keeping a vital clean sheet in front of the home fans at the Stade Louis II to end their rough recent patch.
“The first quarter of an hour was good, and Angers had some response with a compact block. But over the course of the meeting, the tempo became slower,” he explained afterwards.
“In the second half, it was much better, the team was higher and put the pressure on. Our dominance was rewarded with these two fine goals. The reaction in the second half was very good and that’s what you have to remember. We leave with a clean sheet and the three points.”
He then added this on his game changing alterations: “The medical staff told me that Vandi could be 100% for 45 minutes, so I brought him in. Benoit was put on rest because he has done well recently. We changed the system to modify our animation. And in the second half, it was much better. We managed to score quickly and that freed up the team.
“Regarding Golo, I am also satisfied with his entry. He has already attempted this strike this season, and he has the qualities to achieve this gesture. I hope that over time, he will score a lot of goals like that because he has the qualities to do so.”
By the numbers, the fact Monaco held the ascendancy in terms of expected goals (1.84 to 0.52), shots (8 to 7), possession (52% to 48%), corners (7 to 0), passes in the opposition half (204 to 167), accurate long balls (28 to 20), tackles won (10 to 6) and interceptions (11 to 5) accentuated what good value they were for the win.
Crunch clash ahead
Up next for Monaco is their colossal Europa League match against Red Star Belgrade, where a win is a must to ensure their progression into the Round of 16.
“We don’t put unnecessary pressure on ourselves. There is certainly excitement but it will be necessary to remain calm. We all know that this is a very important match, which will determine our second part of the European season. But we have our destiny in our hands and we will have to play our game. It is up to us to show that we are the best team,” Axel Disasi insisted when speaking after what was his 100th appearance for Monaco.
“Not to qualify would be a small failure, it’s true, because the leaders, the coach and ourselves have the ambition to get out of the group. We will have to prepare well for this meeting without adding pressure, and if we are well concentrated, we can do it.”