AS Monaco keep control: victory over Toulouse 3:1
Despite falling behind to Toulouse, Kylian Mbappé and company held their nerve to fight back and claim a 3-1 win that restores their three point lead over PSG at the top of the table.
After their Coupe de France match in midweek, the focus switched back to Ligue 1 for Leonardo Jardim’s men as they hosted Toulouse on Saturday afternoon. On their home turf at the Stade Louis-II, the Red & Whites are on a run of seven successive victories in the league, the best run of any top flight side currently. The Monegasque coach opted to start with his preferred 4-4-2 formation against Toulouse, with Nabil Dirar coming in for Sidibé at right-back. Bakayoko pulled out with a last minute knock and was replaced by Moutinho.
A TEAM BUILT TO ATTACK
After taking the first ten minutes to get up to speed, the game kicked into life with a header from Delort that shaved the frame of Subasic’s goal. The home side enjoyed technical superiority and quickly began to assert themselves in this first half, with Mendy drawing a good save from Lafont with a powerfully struck shot that looked to be heading inside the far post (19 mins). After some sublime skills from Bernardo Silva in the penalty area to beat three defenders, the Portuguese unleashed a shot that almost crept between the Toulouse goalkeeper’s legs (25 mins). Mbappé also got in on the action with a shot in the visitors’ box that was stopped by a last-ditch block (33 mins). But while the chances were falling to AS Monaco, the scoreline remained stubbornly goalless. 0-0 à la pause.
MBAPPÉ STRIKES AGAIN
Dominance doesn’t necessarily translate to goals, as Toivonen reminded the Red & Whites barely two minutes into the second half, the Swedish striker taking advantage of a mistake by Jemerson to slam a shot past Subasic from close range. The goal provoked an immediate response from the home side. Silva and Moutinho played a quick one-two from a corner, and the latter found the head of Glik in the middle with a wonderful cross. The Polish defender powered home a header to level the scores (49 mins). One apiece.
The Red & Whites kept up the press as they went in search of the three points, and Alban Lafont needed to at his best to deal with a long-ranger from Fabinho and a point-blank header from Falcao. But the Toulouse ‘keeper then made an error with a poor clearance, which Silva collected before playing in Mbappé down the right. The young striker toe-poked an effort inside the near post to put AS Monaco in control. From there on, the result was never in doubt. In the 76th minute, a textbook move down the right saw Moutinho scoop a pass through to Dirar. The Moroccan crossed to the far post for Lemar to drill past Lafont and seal the points. The result sees AS Monaco go back into a three point lead over second-placed PSG, who travel to Nice on Sunday evening. All eyes will now be on Wednesday evening’s huge clash with Juventus at the Stade Louis-II, in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final!