Advertising »
Review

Europa League: AS Monaco eliminated in cruel style by Leverkusen

Embolo
© AS Monaco

AS Monaco were eliminated from the Europa League in devastating fashion by losing 3-5 on penalties to Bayer Leverkusen after the scores were 2-3 following extra time.

The Match

Starting as the first leg ended, the opening exchanges were littered with excitement as both teams shared chances and set the tone for what was to follow.

Advertising

It would be Die Werkself who opened the scoring, however, as Florian Wirtz scored in the 13th minute to give his team a dream start. Unfazed by this setback, Les Monegasques then immediately fired back shortly after when Eliesse Ben Seghir earned a penalty that Wissam Ben Yedder expertly converted.

More drama ensued immediately, as Exequiel Palacios then allowed Xabi Alonso’s men to retake the lead courtesy of his blast from the edge of the box in the 21st minute.

Although both teams still enjoyed some decent opportunities, things quietened down substantially heading into the interval.

Advertising »

With Leverkusen controlling possession to begin the second half, they eventually capitalised on their ascendancy when Amine Adli powered home a header to propel them into a 3-1 lead. Monaco weren’t done yet, though, for they produced a fine reply to eventually level the tie on aggregate late through Breel Embolo’s towering header after the likes of Ben Yedder and Ben Seghir had previously come close.

While Kevin Volland wasn’t far off finding the back of the net in extra time against his former team, the pulsating match ultimately went to dreaded penalties, which Monaco disappointingly lost, in a shootout where Eliot Matazo was the only man to miss.

Clement’s Debrief

“Circumstances did not turn to our advantage tonight. It was a balanced match, with Leverkusen better than us in the first half. We were better on the way back from the locker room and were even very dominant in the last thirty minutes. We missed a bit of luck, like on the Wissam crossbar,” he lamented.

“Despite everything we manage to come back. I am obviously very disappointed for my team and for all the people who are in love with AS Monaco. But I’m more proud than sad tonight, because my players have strongly faced the circumstances.”

Advertising »

“We have been training for the last two days on penalties. But the penalty shootout is the Casino honestly. The opposing goalkeeper did not stop a penalty either tonight, since it was the crossbar that pushed Eliot’s shot away. I repeat, my players must be proud tonight of their attitude. And I also want to thank our supporters, who cheered us on until the end.”

By the numbers

In another even clash, the two teams shared the honours in terms of statistics, with ASM coming out on top in terms of shots inside the box (11 to 10), passes in the opposition half (289 to 263), accurate crosses (8 to 5), tackles won (17 to 13) and keeper saves (5 to 2) while Leverkusen were ahead in expected goals (2.32 to 1.93), total shots (17 to 12), shots on target (8 to 4) and overall duels won (78 to 50).

Ligue 1 the focus

Next up for ASM is the colossal derby clash with OGC Nice, where they’ll be desperately hoping to keep up their scintillating league form with a victory and put the crushing Leverkusen loss behind them.

In the stands: Nearly 500 children from the Kids Tour present

In a Louis II stadium which brought together 8,000 spectators, many children from the Kids Tour were invited to come and encourage AS Monaco.

Coming from the Italian villages of San Remo, Imperia and even Mandelieu in France, the youngsters made plenty of noise in the stands throughout the meeting.