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Review

Ligue 1: Akliouche strike seals victory for AS Monaco over Rennes

AS Monaco secured their first home win since the start of December by defeating Stade Rennais 1-0 at the Stade Louis II.

The Match

Making just the one change from the Metz match, Adi Hutter brought Denis Zakaria straight back into his team following his suspension, as he selected a quality team for this colossal clash.

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@ASM

Getting off to a solid opening, early efforts from Youssouf Fofana, Aleksandr Golovin and Thilo Kehrer underlined the danger Les Monegasques possessed.

Rennes then found their groove, as they unleashed a host of shots towards Radoslaw Majecki’s goal, but thankfully the Pole was up to the task by producing some brilliant saves to deny the away side.

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His masterful double save to keep out Amine Gouiri and Benjamin Bourigeaud deserves special mention, for this sequence emphatically highlighted his class.

Buoyed by his heroics, ASM duly took the lead shortly after through exceptional youngster Maghnes Akliouche, who slotted home nicely in the 25th minute to bag his seventh goal of the season in all competitions.

The two outfits traded some solid opportunities to round out the first half, as Monaco ultimately held the edge at the interval.

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Almost immediately after the restart, Martin Terrier received a straight red card for a nasty challenge on Akliouche to boost ASM’s chances of success.

Monaco proceeded to dominate the next period until they too were down to 10 men, for Kehrer was given his marching orders for a second yellow.

The home side crucially dug deep and defiantly defended with the help of Majecki in goal to eventually run out the victors in a tense finish that included eight minutes of stoppage time.

Hutter’s Debrief

“First of all, I would like to say that it was a very good Ligue 1 match with excellent goalkeepers. Radek made some great saves, as did Mandanda on the other side. We were perhaps luckier than against Lorient in certain situations. It’s a very big victory, which interrupts the series at home, and an important result against this good team,” reflected the Austrian manager.

“It’s been six games since we won at home, I’m happy to find success at home again. I was very happy with our first half, but then we weren’t as good in the second. But in the end, it’s a great success.”

Key Stats

By the numbers, the fact ASM held the ascendancy in terms of possession (52% to 48%), expected goals (1.77 to 1.28), total shots (16 to 12), shots inside the box (10 to 5) and overall duels won (50 to 42) demonstrated what a strong display they put in.

Big Tests Await

Up next for Monaco in the all-important run home is a massive match with fellow Champions League chasers Brest away from home, where they’ll be eager to claim another clean sheet and extend their unbeaten run to seven against the second placed Pirates.

“Lille and Brest had done the work on Friday and this afternoon before us. It was important for us to win too. We have destiny in our hands, and so do they. These will be very important matches,” Hutter explained.

“We will face them in a period of three days before moving on to Lyon, which will also be complicated. We will first savour this before thinking about that, which will be one of the most decisive weeks of the season. We will be ready for that and prepare the team well for this challenge. In any case, we are on the right track.”