Ligue 1, Round 29, 02/03/23
AS Monaco were reliant on goals from their youth players to salvage a victory against relegation-threatedn Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace (4-3) on Sunday, which puts Les Monégasques within three points of second-place.
Monaco looked set for an easy afternoon when Vanderson opened the scoring midway through the first-half. However, there was an immediate dropff in intensity from the Principality side, which was duly punished by their relegation threatened opponents.
Lebo Mothiba rose highest from a cross to level the scores and four minutes later they were ahead thanks to a Guillermo Maripán own-goal. One down heading back to the dressing rooms, Philippe Clement made the decisive substitution that changed the course of the match.
Off went Ruben Aguilar and on came Edan Diop. The academy graduate has been played at right-back since breaking through in February, but was moved up to a more familiar midfield role against Strasbourg. Within 10 minutes of the restart, Monaco drew back level thanks to Eliesse Ben Seghir, and four minutes later retook the lead thanks to Diop, who scored his first professional goal with a composed finish.
Strasbourg had looked dangerous on the counter in the first-half with Maripán in particular being isolated one-versus-one against their attacking duo, but they posed less of a threat in the second period, even when they were in need of a goal.
Instead, it was Monaco who doubled their lead thanks to a deflected shot from the edge of the box. The former Strasbourg midfielder said that “special feeling” of facing his former side was waning with time, and the French international had no qualms with celebrating his second goal of the campaign.
Monaco looked to be easing to victory, but a clumsy trailing leg from Fofana saw him earn a deserved second yellow card, leaving his teammates having to see the game out with just 10 men. Strasbourg, however, couldn’t make the most of their numerical advantage and force their way back into the game, despite a late Habib Diallo goal.
Monaco are now three points behind RC Lens and Olympique de Marseille who occupy the final two podium places, whilst Strasbourg are above the relegation zone only on goal difference.
Monaco player ratings
Alexander Nübel – 3 – Consistent with his form in recent weeks, he saved the shots he was expected to save but no more than that. He could have done better for the opener, and certainly shouldn’t have been caught in no-man’s-land for the second. Too easily bypassed too often, and so rarely decisive.
Caio Henrique – 4
Guillermo Maripán – 4
Axel Disasi – 5
Ruben Aguilar – 5
Mohamed Camara – 4
Youssouf Fofana – 5 – Fofana has evidently struggled since the return from the World Cup, and recently said that the long and incessant season was taking its toll physically. However, he grew into this game, and midway through the second-half, perhaps buoyed by the goal against his former side, began to show his best qualities once more. However, a lapse in concentration saw him earn a deserved second yellow, which could have put his side under the cosh in the dying moments.
Aleksandr Golovin – 6
Eliesse Ben Seghir – 7 – Took up some interesting positions between the lines, and as always showed efficient and eyecatching moments of skill. He showed a nice understanding with Vanderson and they combined well on numerous occasions. Got a crucial goal for Les Monégasques dragging his side back into the game with a drilled finish. Withdrawn just after his goal.
Vanderson – 7 – The Brazilian opened the scoring with a composed finish, and was a nuisance throughout. In recent weeks, he has started to reproduce his best form and is looking more like the player that Monaco saw during his opening matches from the club. Vanderson was equally as comfortable when moved back into his habitual right-back role at half-time.
Wissam Ben Yedder – 5
Others: Edan Diop (7) – scored his first goal for the club with a composed finish. His entrance at half-time turned the momentum in favour of Les Monégasques. It was his first time playing further up the field, and he certainly looked more at ease and more expressive.