Review

Ligue 1: AS Monaco edge Auxerre 3-2 in a thriller

AS Monaco
© AS Monaco

Goals from Wissam Ben Yedder, Eliesse Ben Seghir and Breel Embolo propelled AS Monaco to a vital 3-2 victory against Auxerre at the Stade Louis II.

The Match

Racing out of the gate in the early running, Philippe Clement’s men stamped their authority on proceedings impressively, as they dominated possession and looked lively going forward. The home team importantly capitalised on their ascendancy when they took the lead in the 11th minute through Ben Yedder, who finished expertly to push himself into outright third on Monaco’s all-time scoring list with 90.

Eager to continue holding their own and flexing their muscles, Les Monegasques kept up their level, with them appearing destined to find the back of the net again sooner rather than later. And so it proved on the half hour mark, as gifted sensation, Ben Seghir, doubled their advantage with a scintillating strike.

Entering the interval in control and with a commanding 2-0 lead, the second half would be all about managing the game and trying to carry over their momentum. But a spirited Auxerre ensured Monaco would have to work hard for the victory, as Christophe Pelissier’s team improved immensely in the second stanza.

AJA eventually rewarded themselves for their uptick in performance around the midway point of the half when Matthis Abline slotted home. Shortly after, they were almost level, only for the post to deny the excellent Nuno da Costa.

Knowing they needed a response to shift things in their favour again, Embolo tilted the ledger back Monaco’s way, as he scored with an assertive blast to restore their two-goal cushion. Da Costa then struck with five minutes remaining to ensure Monaco would endure a nervy ending, but ASM ultimately got over the line to claim all three points while handing Auxerre their seventh straight league defeat.

Clement’s Debrief

Clement cut a reasonably content figure after the match, with the Belgian just happy his team could get over the line and keep their positive spell going that means their undefeated streak in Ligue 1 extends to six matches.

“In the first half we showed great things and played football with movement and quality. We got chances that we converted with nice goals. I think fans or people who watch football like this attractive style of play. The second, however, was less good and Auxerre came back into the game. We know that Ligue 1 is an interesting league as there can be surprises every weekend thanks to players who can make a difference individually,” he explained.

“We managed well in the first, but not in the second, where our level of aggression and concentration was lower. But we are the youngest team in Ligue 1 and these are important lessons. We are working on that in order to correct them, but it has been improving for the last six months.

“It is not related to physical problems, but it is more mental. The atmosphere at half-time in the Auxerre locker room should not have been good and they wanted to react as soon as the resumption. It’s up to us to better manage these moments and maintain a high level of concentration. For example, we must not concede the second goal, only a few minutes after scoring the 3-1. But it’s still positive that we won since it was not necessarily the case last season in meetings of this type.

“But yes, there are still a lot of positives. We are for example the second best attack in Ligue 1 and we even remain in 31 games with at least one goal. Tonight, it was the attackers who scored, that’s important. Since the resumption at the end of December, we have pocketed 14 points out of 18, we must continue in this way.”

Key Stats

By the numbers, the fact Monaco bettered their adversaries in terms of shots (16 to 9), shots on target (6 to 3), big chances created (4 to 2) and passes inside the opposition half (200 to 181) underlined that they did enough to get the job done even though they were pushed hard.

Clermont Foot awaits

Maintaining their position in fourth in the table following this latest triumph, next up for ASM is a challenging away clash vs. Clermont Foot, where they’ll be looking for another victory to keep up their fine form ahead of their colossal clash with Paris Saint-Germain on the 11th of February.