Despite taking the lead with roughly 20 minutes left, AS Monaco ultimately fell to a devastating 3-2 loss vs. Olympique de Marseille, as the away side mounted an incredible comeback in the closing stages.
Under the eyes of Prince Albert II, Marseille raced out of the blocks to immediately put Les Monegasques under pressure, as the visitors were largely in control for most of the first half. Although Monaco had a couple of chances in the early exchanges, Igor Tudor’s team certainly proved a greater force to be reckoned with.
OM then rewarded themselves by taking the lead in the 35th minute through Alexis Sanchez, who rifled home a spectacular free-kick.
Their advantage wouldn’t last long, however, for Monaco levelled the ledger just before the interval when Wissam Ben Yedder netted from the penalty spot with a cheeky Panenka after Krepin Diatta had won the spot-kick.
Coming out firing in the second stanza, Philippe Clement’s men carried their momentum over impressively, as they looked extremely dangerous and the most likely to score next. And that’s precisely what they did, as Kevin Volland put Monaco ahead 2-1 with a clinical finish after Aleksandr Golovin fed him with a precise through ball.
Appearing well on their way to a crucial victory having produced a stirring comeback, things took a turn for the worse, though, as Jordan Veretout equalised in the 82nd minute to set up a grandstand ending. Unfortunately for Monaco, Marseille were the ones who came up trumps in this pulsating contest, as Sead Kolasinac headed home in the 98th minute to secure all three points for OM.
“The outcome was cruel. In the first half it was balanced in my opinion, even if I was not very happy with the organisation of my team. We talked about it at half-time to improve things, by showing video to the players. The goal was to be more stable defensively. In the second half we were better balanced, more dangerous offensively too, and we managed to take the lead, 2-1. But there were two decisions that were crucial in the last ten minutes,” explained the Belgian manager.
“Today’s referee is one of the best in France, and I still think so after the match. On the other hand, on the action where Breel Embolo is tackled to the ground in midfield like a rugby play, I do not understand how he can be given a yellow card. The problem is that we conceded the equaliser 30 seconds later. Then Dimitri Payet, who is a great player, falls quite easily to get a free kick and then makes it in the dying seconds. So in the end I’m very disappointed, because my players didn’t get the result they deserved tonight.”
By the numbers, despite OM holding the edge for possession (59% to 42%) and shots inside the box (8 to 7), the fact Monaco held the ascendancy in terms of expected goals (1.96 to 1.88), shots on target (6 to 3) and overall duels won (40 to 34) will make them even more frustrated they couldn’t at least grab a point from the fixture.
World Cup break on the horizon
The result now sees Monaco head into the World Cup break sitting sixth in the Ligue 1 standings, four points off the final Champions League qualification place held by Rennes.
Upon returning to the action, Les Monegasques can look forward to a clash with Auxerre on December 29, where they’ll be hoping to begin their quest for a coveted podium finish come season’s end with a much needed victory.
Behind the scenes: The Monaco Supporters Club puts on a show
The Monaco Supporters Club celebrated its 70th anniversary in style against Olympique de Marseille with magnificent tifo at the start of the match and another at the beginning of the second period.
Invited to attend the meeting, all the supporters of the club’s branches gathered in the stands to encourage the Red and Whites. A unique moment that they were able to share alongside a certain Aurelien Tchouameni, who was present to kick off the meeting and greet them.