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AS Monaco Under 18s Victorious in the First Round of the Gambardella Cup

The AS Monaco U18 team faced RC Grasse in their debut in the Gambardella Cup and managed to overcome the challenge, securing a victory in a match that took some time to unfold (0-2).

A successful start. On Sunday, December 10, the duo of Frédéric Barilaro and Manu Dos Santos led their team into the Gambardella Cup. Defending champions, they faced RC Grasse, who put up a good fight but eventually succumbed to the multiple Monaco attacks (0-2). 

A solid start. Dominating possession from the early moments, AS Monaco quickly posed a threat, with Amal Boura making the first attempt, unfortunately without success (3rd minute). The Monégasques pushed forward, relying mainly on the wings to create danger, exemplified by Mathis Coudour, whose dangerous cross forced Grasse’s goalkeeper to intervene (9th minute).

Dominance doesn’t guarantee victory. Frustration began to build within the Principality club’s ranks, and Grasse took advantage, creating paths through the Monaco defense. However, attempts either ended up in the hands of Yanis Benchaouch (24th minute) or beside the post (33rd minute). 

Half-time approached, and Frédéric Barilaro’s men sought desperately to find the net, which had eluded them since kick-off. Ilane Touré’s powerful strike skimmed just above the opposition’s crossbar (36th minute).

The last chance came from Joan Tincres, who initially faced an outstanding goalkeeper, denying his close-range attempt before sending his second try over the empty goal as Grasse’s last line misread the corner’s trajectory (38th minute). The first half concluded without success for the 22 players.

Second Half 

Dominant Red and Whites…

The second half began just like the first, with the Rocher club taking control of the ball and using their speed to trouble Grasse’s defense. The first alert came from Nacim Dendani, a new entry, attempting a free-kick that eluded everyone (49th minute). He set up the second Monaco warning, delivering a precise cross to Joan Tincres, who could only touch the ball without generating enough force to trouble the well-positioned goalkeeper (55th minute).

But luck was not on their side. Skillful winger Saïmon Bouabré sent in another free-kick, and Saïmon managed a monstrous volley that missed the target (58th minute). Luck wasn’t favouring AS Monaco, as the vice-champion of the U17 World Cup came close to scoring, but a bounce altered its trajectory, narrowly missing the post (62nd minute).

Grasse, completely pinned back, weathered the numerous Monaco attempts without conceding. 

The End-Game 

Grasse finally bent and broke ten minutes before the end. From a free-kick by Joan Tincres, the ball deflects back to Ilane Touré, who, alone in front of the goal, perfectly beats the goalkeeper, freeing the Red and Whites (80th minute, 0-1). The hosts, affected, put their last efforts into the battle. They also benefited from a free-kick that crashed against the bar, leaving Yanis Benchaouch seemingly beaten (87th minute). More scare than harm for the Rocher club, which continued attacking in the final seconds, forcing the exhausted Blue and Red team to commit a foul in the penalty area. Penalty, confidently converted by Joan Tincres (90+4, 0-2). The match is settled, and AS Monaco emerges victorious.

The next round of the Gambardella Cup is scheduled for the weekend of January 14.

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