While it took a while to find the goal, our Rouge et Blanc showed patience to finally win against Stade Rennais at Roazhon Park (1-2), and climb into second place.
They were heroic until the end! Held in check in the first half by a very well-organized Rennes team, AS Monaco’s players found the opening after the break, to win with character in Brittany (1-2). It’s the 300th win for the Club since the arrival of President Rybolovlev, which allows the Monegasques to move into second place in Ligue 1.
Impressive at home (and on 6 wins in 7 matches), our Rouge et Blanc wanted to do the same on the road. After a win against Montpellier at the Stade Louis-II (2-0), Adi Hütter‘s side wanted to keep winning and their place on the podium. It wouldn’t be easy against a team which has just changed coaches and playing system, who were coming off a home victory against Reims (3-1) and a narrow loss in Marseille (2-0).
To begin this big match of the 15th matchday of Ligue 1, the Monegasque manager opts for a return to his preferred 3-4-2-1 system. Of note was the return to midfield of Youssouf Fofana, ill last weekend, and especially a first start for Mohammed Salisu in defense, alongside Denis Zakaria. Folarin Balogun was once again lined up leading the line, with the Minamino-Golovin duo in support.
The match started at a frantic pace for both sides. But we had to wait until the fifth minute to witness a shot from Wilfried Singo, following a high recovery and a good run forward. On the first Monegasque corner, Mohammed Salisu then head a header that was a little too soft, which Steve Mandanda captured (9′). There was a response from Arthur Theate also at a set piece, but from six meters, but not on target (10′).
A lack of accuracy from both sides
Clearly the best opportunities were yet to come, and the MVP against Montpellier, Aleksandr Golovin, saw his free kick from the edge of the area fizz over (19′). On a quickly played set piece, this time it was Rennes who crossed through Ludovic Blas, for a not precise enough header by Amine Gouiri (25′). It was the same for Folarin Balogun on a cross from Ismail Jakobs (32′).
The away support helps make the difference
There was still nothing to cheer for the Monegasque support, filled by 500 supporters – including Romain, our witness who once again saw a header by Youssouf Fofana fly wide of the Breton goal (40′). At the other hand, there was a ball over the defense for the American attacker, whose left-footed shot was stopped by the SRFC goalkeeper (41′). Vanderson had the last chance of the half on a cutback from Taki’, but it missed to the left (45+2′).
The breakthrough for Vandi!
Success eluded the Rouge et Blanc, until returning from the locker room, where on a cross from Jakobs, Balo’ held the ball and then found Vanderson who finished perfectly (0-1, 51′)! It was a second goal this season for the Brazilian, omnipresent today, and a second assist for the American, who was then denied at the last minute (68′).
Meanwhile, Stade Rennais tries to respond through Enzo Le Fée, but his recovery was overhit (60′). The match took a completely different turn when Vanderson was sent off after a second yellow card (75th).
A counter that does (a lot) of good
Takumi Minamino was first denied to a heroic effort to cut out Yildirim’s cross (78′). Before Philip Köhn had to deny Arthur Theate (79′). The last quarter of an hour was explosive, but on a lightning counter-attack led by Youssouf Fofana, AS Monaco managed to double the lead (0-2, 85′)! What a relief… But short-lived, since the Bretons obtained a penalty which Benjamin Bourigeaud converted (1-2, 90′).
Another win to reach second place
The rest was in the details in this big match of the 15th round, since Philipp Köhn was again sharp on a header from Gouiri (91′). He then had to pull out all the stops by keeping out a missile from youngster Mahamadou Nagida (92′). It was a last scare for the Monegasques, who won with a suspenseful match at Roazhon Park, for the team’s 300th victory since the arrival of President Rybolovlev in December 2011.
It’s also a win which also allows them to provisionally move second in the Ligue 1 table (1-2). DAGHE MUNEGU!