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Review

Ligue 1: AS Monaco triumph in a thriller vs. Strasbourg

AS Monaco
© AS Monaco

Despite trailing at half-time against Strasbourg, AS Monaco produced a remarkable comeback after the interval to run out 4-3 victors in a pulsating clash at the Stade Louis II.

The Match

Wanting to carry their momentum from the win over Ajaccio prior to the international break, Philippe Clement made one change from that triumph, as the injured Breel Embolo was replaced by the returning Aleksandr Golovin.

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Starting the match full of vigour, the home side roared out of the blocks to almost take the lead on two separate occasions through Wissam Ben Yedder in the opening quarter of an hour.

Les Monegasques crucially rewarded themselves for their smart start when Vanderson scored with polish following some nifty work from Eliesse Ben Seghir 19 minutes in.

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Strasbourg then sprung into life, with going behind serving as the catalyst for them to get back into the match. Levelling the ledger through Lebo Mothiba, Le Racing then took the lead courtesy of Guillermo Maripan’s unfortunate own goal to hold the ascendancy at the break.

Wanting a big response in the second period, this is precisely what Clement got from his troops, as they equalised within 10 minutes of the restart via Ben Seghir.

Young starlet Edan Diop, who had just been introduced at the interval, then bagged his first professional goal to ensure his team regained the lead just ahead of the hour mark.

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Youssouf Fofana then found the back of the net against his former team, with his deflected strike doubling ASM’s advantage.

Fofana then went from hero to villain when he was sent off in the 78th minute, thus leaving Monaco to navigate the remainder of the game shorthanded. Although Habib Diallo pulled a goal back late, ASM ultimately held on to claim all three points to keep within touching distance of the podium places.

Clement’s Debrief

“We showed two faces. I really liked our start, where we were very aggressive on the opposing carrier, and where we conceded few chances. Then this aggressiveness decreased at the end of the first period and we paid for it by conceding these two goals,” explained the Belgian tactician.

“I was very angry at the break, I did not recognise my team. We then reacted well and managed to hold the score despite Strasbourg’s long aerial balls after Youssouf’s red. We have to stay aggressive throughout the game, that’s the big lesson of the game. The most important thing is to have obtained the three points.”

He then added this on the importance of Monaco’s gifted youngsters in Ben Seghir and Diop: “They had a big role in this game. This is very important because young people are the heart of the club’s project. Beyond the statistics, it is their implications for the collective that I appreciated. I don’t give game time for free, just because they’re young. I do it because they deserve it given their work in matches and during the sessions. We can be proud to have two 18-year-olds who have so much quality, they can still progress enormously.”

Key Stats

Even though Strasbourg were ahead in terms of expected goals (1.40 to 1.38), total shots (13 to 9) and passes in the opposition half (189 to 153), the fact ASM had the edge in terms shots on target (7 to 6), accurate long balls (28 to 20), tackles won (9 to 8) and aerial duels won (18 to 16) showed they more than held their own.

Up Next

A tough away trip to face off with FC Nantes awaits Monaco next, where another victory will be the sole focus in their quest to secure a coveted top three finish. With nine matches left in Ligue 1 action and ASM sitting just three points behind RC Lens and Olympique de Marseille in second and third respectively, every match is set to be a battle royale to see who can claim Champions League qualification.

“I don’t look at the ranking of competitors. We still have nine finals to play and we will tackle them match by match. The main thing is to be focused on ourselves. There are positive and negative things. Our goal is to work well in training to make corrections and continue to maintain good results. I want to be ambitious with this squad by pushing everyone to surpass themselves all the time,” Clement stated.