AS Monaco began their 2023 in fine style by recording a vital 1-0 victory over Brest.
Back in front of their home fans at the Stade Louis II, Monaco secured a crucial win over a determined Brest, with Aleksandr Golovin’s sensational goal proving the difference.
Making a few changes to the starting eleven that defeated Auxerre, Philippe Clement handed starlet Eliesse Ben Seghir a start fresh from his brace and also notably brought back Axel Disasi, Youssouf Fofana and Caio Henrique into the lineup.
Beginning the match nicely, Les Monegasques immediately gained a foothold by dominating possession and unleashing some early sighters on goal, with Mohamed Camara coming particularly close when he hit the post with a stinging strike in the 12th minute.
The home side continued to create a host of quality chances throughout the remainder of the first half through the likes of Golovin, Ben Seghir and Krepin Diatta, but ultimately couldn’t convert.
With the scores 0-0 at the break and Monaco needing to produce something out of the ordinary to break the deadlock, Golovin rose to the occasion to find the back of the net to propel his team into the lead in the 54th minute. Showing exceptional skill, poise and composure, his blast from outside the area was a thing of beauty.
Although Brest then mounted a comeback in an attempt to draw level and had some decent opportunities, Monaco held firm in the end to secure all three points, with Alexander Nubel playing a key role towards Monaco keeping the clean sheet they needed to get over the line.
“The perception of the game is very different in the first and second half. At the start of the match we found the spaces we wanted in line with what we had worked on in training. We were unlucky to get a brilliant Marco Bizot today, otherwise it’s 3 or 4-0 at half-time. Then we defended well as a team, starting with Breel and Eliesse who pressed hard,” he reflected.
“When we got back from the locker room, we continued in this direction, but the face of the game changed after the very fine goal from Golo. At this time, we knew that the opponent would take risks to get back into the game. We should have been better in the transitions, to score the second goal, or even a third which could have put us clear, because there was the risk of conceding a draw on a set-piece. Luckily we held on.”
By the numbers, the fact Monaco held the ascendancy in terms of expected goals (1.31 to 0.89), total shots (17 to 13), shots inside the box (9 to 8), passes completed in the opposition half (182 to 124) and duels won (73 to 68) illustrated their solid day at the office.
French Cup awaits
Having now won their 10th Ligue 1 match of the season to move them into equal third on the table, up next for Monaco is a clash with Rodez in the Coupe de France next weekend, where they’ll be looking to carry on their recent momentum to triumph once more.