It just wasn’t AS Monaco’s night in their colossal derby clash with OGC Nice, for they suffered a heartbreaking defeat in a match where they missed two penalties before Jeremie Boga bagged a late winner for Les Aiglons.
Heading into this one sitting on top of the Ligue 1 standings, Adi Hutter made some notable changes for his first derby by bringing in Folarin Balogun for his starting debut and reinstalling Mohamed Camara back into the midfield following his suspension.
With the fixture between two of the finest teams in Ligue 1 so far getting off to an exciting start, it was ASM who came closest in the early running, with Balogun missing a 12th minute penalty that was won by Aleksandr Golovin.
Chances for both sides then followed in this intriguing encounter, as the likes of Gaetan Laborde, Youssouf Fofana, Sofiane Diop, Khephren Thuram, Terem Moffi and Vanderson fired off some decent attempts. There would be no beating Marcin Bulka and Philipp Kohn in goal, however, as both keepers were in fine form to continually deny their challengers.
To wrap up the opening half, Balogun hit the woodwork to end a frustrating period for the gifted forward.
Racing out of the blocks to kick-off the second stanza in this battle for supremacy, Les Monegasques earned another spot-kick, but Balogun’s blast was disappointingly repelled yet again by the exceptional Bulka.
The opportunities then flowed throughout the remainder of the contest for both outfits, with the netminders holding firm to ensure the score stayed level.
Just as the game appeared destined to end in a draw, two pivotal moments occurred, as Wissam Ben Yedder had a goal chalked off for offside before Boga produced a moment of magic to win the game at the death for the visitors.
A crushing blow indeed for Hutter’s men, who have every right to feel hard done by on a night where the cards definitely didn’t fall in their favour.
“Of course we are frustrated because I think we deserved a draw since we got two penalties. We cannot concede this goal in the last minutes by leaving so much space. We have only taken one point in two games, it’s not enough. Everyone thinks we are a good team, but we still need to improve,” he insisted.
“A match does not only last 90 minutes, but longer with added time. Last weekend, we left the last possession to Lorient by losing the ball. Today, this point was reaching out to us again. This is why there is frustration for us, but also for our supporters. Now we have to focus on Marseille, which arrives on Saturday, and we will have to work hard this week to bounce back.”
By the numbers, the fact ASM held the ascendancy in terms of expected goals (1.82 to 1.08), possession (54% to 46%), passes in the opposition half (219 to 154), tackles won (12 to 8) and overall duels won (46 to 44) indicated what a solid performance they put in despite the result.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe visits the dressing room
Like last year, Sir Jim Ratcliffe left the Louis-II with a smile on his face!
OM On The Horizon
Having now surrendered their unbeaten record and lost their place atop the standings, their focus will now immediately shift to another massive fixture vs. Olympique de Marseille next weekend, where victory will firmly be on the mind in their quest to return to winning ways.