AS Monaco claimed a brilliant derby win thanks to a Germain strike and a double from Falcao to go clear at the top of Ligue 1!
After a cagey opening ten minutes, the match sprang to life with a crisp effort from Bernardo Silva that Cardinale held at the second time of asking (10 mins). The Nice ‘keeper was called into action again three minutes later, dealing with a Lemar free-kick that had been poorly cleared by Baysse (13 mins), before seeing Falcao put a good header narrowly wide from Mendy’s handy cross (16 mins). The game was up and running as a contest, but neither team was giving the other much space to work with. Just before the half-hour, Germain misjudged an attempted lob after Nice lost possession as they tried to play out from the back (27 mins).
AS Monaco were having by far the better of the first half, but the visitors were standing their ground with a well-drilled defensive unit containing the Monegasque attacks orchestrated by Silva and Lemar. It took until the 33rd minute before Nice finally registered their first effort on goal, a half-volley off target from Eysseric. The Red & Whites’ response was not long in coming. Falcao sent Silva into space down the right-hand side of the penalty area, but the Portuguese midfielder’s driven shot was batted away by Cardinale (37 mins). Almost on half-time, Silva then flew clear down the right wing and beat Eysseric to win the final corner of the opening period (45 mins). From the resulting set piece, German directed a header just over the bar. The teams went in at the break with the scoreline goallness, despite a dominant Monegasque display.
From the restart, Lemar cracked in an effort that Cardinale could only push out to Sidibé. One-on-one with a defender, the French international was unable to find the target (47 mins). Moments later, Lemar sent the ball into space down the right for Mendy, who swung in a perfect cross for Germain to nod past Cardinale and break the deadlock (48 mins)! It was the ideal start to the second half for the home side, but they were not content to sit on their lead. Shortly before the hour mark, from a move started by Silva, Lemar found the overlapping Mendy down the left flank, and he served the ball up on a plate for Falcao to slam under Cardinale’s crossbar from close range and put daylight between the two teams!
The goal seemed to take some of the wind out of Nice’s sails, while Monaco comfortably defended their advantage while continuing to probe for a third. Silva saw a shot deflected behind for a corner, which Falcao was inches away from converting at the far post. El Tigre was back causing more problems for the visitors in the 80th minute, as he bagged Monaco’s third. Collecting a pull-back from Lemar after losing his marker in textbook fashion, he placed a shot inside the far post to beat Cardinale again and notch AS Monaco’s 100th goal of the season in all competitions! The match was over as a contest, although Subasic produced a fine stop to keep out Plea’s header, before Eysseric volleyed against the post. But it was already a case of job done for the Monegasques, with the win ensuring they are now outright leaders at the top of Ligue 1! Daghe Munegu!
Sources of text and photos: www.asmonaco.