PLAYER RATINGS | Monaco 0-1 Reims: Folarin Balogun strike sees visitors’ unbeaten run go on

The record-breaking run goes on. With a hard-fought win over the team that had beaten Reims 3-0 at home earlier this season, the 30-year-old Will Still is now 17 games unbeaten as manager – the team on an overall run of 19 games.

The first half saw the visitors dominate possession, albeit creating very few clear chances – some good piercing runs from Junya Ito and a header from Mashall Munetsi all they had to show for their dominance. Monaco, on the other hand, were looking more incisive, and even had the ball in the net as Wissam Ben Yedder went around Diouf, only for an offside call to stop him in his tracks.

It didn’t take long for Still’s men to take the lead after the break though, as a rapid counter-attack saw Alexis Flips play a piercing ball through to Folarin Balogun. Alexander Nübel would get a hand to the Reims forward’s strike, but not another to prevent it from bobbling over the line.

From then on, Reims – led by an imperious Yunis Abdelhamid as well as an excellent performance from Yehvann Diouf – kept the Principality side mostly quiet. They even came close to doubling their lead as Balogun was played through again on the counter, but this time the German goalkeeper won the duel. To Still’s cries of “C’est terminé ! [It’s over]”, the Champagne side secured a three points that now puts them in uncharted territory – they now sit four points away from Rennes in fifth place, and a potential Conference League spot.

Monaco player ratings:

Alexander Nübel, 5 – Could have done better on the Balogun opener, he let the shot slip underneath him, but did make some crucial saves at the end to keep Monaco’s hopes of getting back in the game alive.

Ruben Aguilar, 4

Axel Disasi, 4

Malang Sarr, 5

Caio Henrique, 4

Krépin Diatta, 3 – The winger’s wasteful final product stunted the hosts’ attack in the first half, and he was replaced at the break by Vanderson – who looked far more at ease in creating chances, albeit to no avail.

Eliot Matazo, 5

Youssouf Fofana, 5

Aleksandr Golovin, 5

Maghnes Akliouche, 4

Wissam Ben Yedder, 5 – The French international came close to scoring in the first half – he had the ball in the net, ruled out by an offside call, and later hit the post – but was taken off at the hour mark for Breel Embolo in a puzzling decision from Philippe Clement.

Reims player ratings:

Yehvann Diouf, 8 – The young goalkeeper has now kept a league-best 12 clean sheets this season, and once again proved decisive this afternoon, notably keeping out a powerful strike from Vanderson with five minutes to go. Also rendered most of Monaco’s crosses ineffectual by consistently imposing himself in the air.

Thomas Foket, 6

Yunis Abdelhamid, 7

Thibault De Smet, 5

Dion Lopy, 6

Azor Matusiwa, 5

Junya Ito, 7

Marshall Munetsi, 6

Alexis Flips, 6

Folarin Balogun, 7 – Scored the winner, his 16th Ligue 1 goal of the season, and was tireless in tearing apart a disoriented Monaco defence with his piercing runs. Not always accurate with his end product, but always a presence up top, and a valuable outlet when his team were defending the lead throughout much of the second half.

GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin 

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