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At the end of a tense match, AS Monaco edge Lens to reach the Round of 32

At the end of a seemingly interminable penalty shootout that went to the ninth taker, the Rouge et Blanc qualified for the round of 32 of the Coupe de France at the Stade Bollaert (2-2 5-6 penalties).

AS Monaco will continue its journey in the Coupe de France. Against Racing Club de Lens in the Round of 64, the Rouge et Blanc ended up winning via a penalty shootout. Quickly ahead 2-0, they were then pegged back before winning on the ninth penalty taken, by Soungoutou Magassa, and will play in the round of 32 of the competition.

The context

More than two weeks after a win in Toulouse, AS Monaco returned to the pitch for the first match of 2024. The Rouge et Blanc travel to the Stade Bollaert for the Round of 64 of the Coupe de France in a match that looked promising. If adversity was present, they would be able to rely on a favorable history (four qualifications in as many confrontations) to tip the scales in their favor.

The starting lineup

For this first match in the Coupe, Adi Hütter had to manage players being away at AFCON, a suspension and injuries. He kept the same 3-4-1-2 he had played against TFC, with a first start for Radoslaw Majecki in goal, as well as for Thilo Kehrer and Kassoum Ouattara. The duo of Ben Yedder and Balogun led the line, supported by Maghnes Akliouche.

The scenario

In front of a once again well-filled away end with 700 Monegasque supporters, AS Monaco had no time to lose and found the net after just 33 seconds. Thanks to a recovery in the opponent’s area, Wissam Ben Yedder beat Brice Samba at the near post, who was certainly surprised by the rapid finish from of the Rouge et Blanc captain (1′).

Ouattara, a first start (and assist!)

It was his ninth goal in his last nine matches with the Principality club in the competition. On the lookout for the slightest loss of the ball on the part of Lens, Adi Hütter’s men dominated the start of the match and Folarin Balogun would come up short against the opposing goalkeeper (13′).

Then following a stunning bit of collective play, Youssouf Fofana found Kassoum Ouattara on the left, who sent a fine pass to the far post for Maghnes Akliouche. Alone on goal, the midfielder trained at the Academy then only has to tap the ball into the back of the net. A first start and already a first assist for the former Amiens player!

Lens reduces the lead

After this second goal, the Sang et Or fought back. Elye Wahi first missed a volley from six meters (34′), before Frankowki’s cross was pushed behind for a corner by Radoslaw Majecki (35′). The Polish goalkeeper was then unlucky when Faitout Maouassa’s shot was slightly deflected by Guillermo Maripán (43′) into the top corner.

He then showed himself to be vigilant on a long shot from Facundo Medina by tipping it clear (44′). The match then became livelier again and Wahi went down in the area after slight contact with Thilo Kehrer in added time. It was fortunately insufficient for Mr. Dechépy who did not whistle a penalty for Lens (45+2′). It was a decision which made Franck Haise mad with rage, and he was sent off by the referee.

An enterprising Racing equalize

Lens continue to push but has to wait until almost the hour mark to appear dangerous through Elye Wahi whose effort went slightly wide (57′), while Faitout Maouassa’s shot was repelled by Radoslaw Majecki (59′). The hosts would eventually equalize through Florian Sotoca who placed a ball between the legs of the Monegasque goalkeeper (62nd). To try to stop the opposition, Adi Hütter brought on Myron Boadu and Edan Diop (68′).

The two teams respond to each other

Racing, however, created another opportunity through Sishuba, forcing “Radeck” into another tap save (75′). For his part, the Dutch striker from AS Monaco saw his right-footed shot blocked by a defender (76′). The two sides were responding to each other and it was Frankowski’s turn to have a chance but his header was off-target (83′).

Then Denis Zakaria’s attempt was also deflected before the match took yet another turn when, following a mix-up in the Monegasque area, the ball flirted with the post (86′). Shortly thereafter, Wissam Ben Yedder believed he could give his team the lead again but Brice Samba got down well at his near post (87′).

A crazy shootout and a Monegasque victory

Despite all these chances for both sides, the two teams are unable to make a difference and it is therefore on penalties that the match would be decided. The match was crazy, and the shootout would be too thanks to decisive goalkeepers (three out of five shots missed on both sides).

And it was finally after the ninth attempt that the outcome would be decided. Adrien Thomasson was denied by Radoslaw Majecki, while Soungoutou Magassa sent the ball into the top corner past Samba (5-6). It was a nice moment of revenge for a player who missed his penalty against Rodez last year.

Monaco are into the Round of 32

AS Monaco therefore enters the round of 32 stage by defeating Racing at the end of a seemingly interminable penalty shootout and confirms its status as their nemesis in the competition (five wins out of five). They will next be in action in this competition on the weekend of January 20 and 21 — the draw will be made tomorrow evening. But before playing the second round, they will have a match to negotiate in the league with a visit from Reims to the Stade Louis-II, next Saturday at 5 p.m. Daghe Munegu! 


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