Dominant in a second half where they led for thirty big minutes, the Rouge et Blanc finally conceded at the very end of their match in Lens (2-2). It was a cruel draw, synonymous with the team finishing in third place.
Threatened by a very enterprising Lens team but still ahead in the match’s last half hour, AS Monaco unfortunately could only draw in the North of France (2-2), and will have to go through the play-offs again to hope to play the Champions League next season. In an attempt to clinch their tenth success in a row in the league – unheard of since the 2016-2017 title season – Philippe Clement decided to start the same eleven as he against Rennes, Nice and Brest in last Saturday’s 4-2 win. Vanderson therefore started on the right wing, in front of Ruben Aguilar, who was celebrating his 100th match with the Rouge et Blanc.
A massive Alex Nübel quiets the Lens attack
The kick-off of this big match took place in an incredible atmosphere at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis, in the presence of 1000 Monegasque supporters from all over France. Pinned back in the match, the two defenses prevented in turn Wissam Ben Yedder (3′) and Seko Fofana (5′) from finding an opening goal. It was then Arnaud Kalimuendo who proved dangerous on a shot from the right, which Alexander Nübel kept out with his foot (7′). What a stop!
The German goalkeeper, already decisive against Brest, immediately made a magnificent diving save to deny a curling shot from Cheick Doucouré (9′). He also blocked Kalimuendo’s attempt (12′). The Monegasque defence was under duress in this first quarter of an hour, but Aleksandr Golovin’s teammates would react to a cross from the Tsar, saved with difficulty by Wuilker Farinez with his fingertips (17th) as each goalkeeper impressed.
Badiashile wakes up the Monegasques
Alex “The Wall” Nübel even had to make his fourth save against Pereira Da Costa (19′). Then he saved his side once again on a breakaway by Seko Fofana (21′). The Monegasques unfortunately conceded on yet another attack led by Jonathan Clauss, who picked out Frankowski (1-0, 30′). Caio Henrique tries to respond directly on a direct free kick located centrally (34′), but it was unfortunately blocked.
But in shortly thereafter, Benoît Badiashile equalized from a corner perfectly played by Aleksandr Golovin (1-1, 35′)! AS Monaco had regained the upper hand and returned to the locker room with the score level.
The return of the two sides came saw lots of noise from the fans, and Jonathan Clauss was quick to get involved (51′). It was then up to Pereira Da Costa, who hit a powerful shot which flew over the crossbar (53′) befoe Florian Sotoca’s attempt was captured by Alex Nübel (54′).
Captain Wiss’, forever and always!
The reaction this time came from the work of Aleksandr Golovin, who was very close to winning a one-on-one with the Lens goalkeeper (57′). The Rouge et Blanc kept pushing and Caio Henrique was very close to setting up Aurélien Tchouameni on a cutback (59′). On the corner that followed, Benoît Badiashile came close with a header (60′). It was hot, very hot! At the other end of the pitch, Alex Nübel stretched full to stop an attempt by Florian Sotoca (61′).
The German goalkeeper, author of a big performance, allowed AS Monaco to keep hope. And it paid off, since Wissam Ben Yedder, him again, who scored his 25th goal of the season on a cross from… Kevin Volland (1-2, 62′)! What a duo!!! The match then took a wild turn, and Alexander Nübel was again decisive on a powerful strike by Seko Fofana (70′).
A very cruel equalizer
The Red and White defense held firm in the last quarter of an hour, even under great pressure from the hosts. Unfortunately, for them, they conceded the equalizer in added time from a free kick (2-2, 96′). The Principality club will therefore have to go through the two play-off rounds to hope to compete in the Champions League next season. Thank you to our loyal supporters who supported us until the end!