After enjoying accomplished victories over Angers and Red Star Belgrade, AS Monaco capped off a brilliant week by defeating Toulouse 0-2 away from home.
Knowing the importance of rotating his squad to keep the players fresh, Philippe Clement made quite a few changes from the Europa League clash, bringing Breel Embolo, Takumi Minamino and Vanderson in to start this match. And it paid off, as Monaco raced out to an energetic start, with them carving out some promising openings in the first 20 minutes, with Minamino and Aleksandr Golovin coming especially close early.
Controlling the game in possession and defending diligently, the only thing missing for Les Monegasques was a first half goal. They didn’t have to wait long to be rewarded for their toils, though, for Golovin opened the scoring immediately after the interval, with the playmaking wizard applying an expert finish from the edge of the box.
Not content with just the one goal lead, the away side kept probing, eager to extend their advantage. They did precisely that on the hour mark, as Embolo coolly fired home Minamino’s wonderful assist to make it 2-0.
Toulouse then attempted to mount a comeback, wanting to make a push in front of their home fans. But Monaco held firm, repelling danger coherently and keeping their heads to ensure they not only secured victory but also kept their second consecutive league clean sheet.
“It’s always difficult after a qualification to replay and perform immediately. I was curious to see this team from Toulouse, because it is a team that plays with a lot of intensity, a lot of pressure and which is interesting in transitions. Only Paris Saint-Germain came to win here at the Stadium. I was curious to see if there would be any decompression from my players. But that was not the case. They played a good game, with a lot of maturity. Even the substitutes who returned gave satisfaction by showing impact,” explained the Monaco manager.
“We must have respect for the course that Toulouse has achieved so far. It’s not an easy team to play, with the pressure they put on. We scored two goals, in addition to all the good deeds we could have concluded. There is a good atmosphere in this locker room, although we can still mature to kill the game faster. But the last few months have been interesting with a young group that is growing well.
“We have won seven points in the last three games, which is a good thing. But there is again a very important game next Sunday against Marseille. If we beat OM, it will be a good record for the start of the season.”
By the numbers, the fact Monaco held the ascendancy in terms of expected goals (2.34 to 0.57), total shots (24 to 13), shots on target (10 to 5), shots inside the box (16 to 9), passes in the opposition half (198 to 158), successful dribbles (10 to 2) and overall duels won (53 to 37) underlined what a strong display they put in.
OM on the horizon
Now up to fourth in the standings following their excellent collective effort to claim all three points, up next for Monaco is a colossal clash with Olympique de Marseille, where they’ll be doing everything in their power to grab another win before the enforced World Cup break.