PLAYER RATINGS | Nantes 3-3 Monaco: Ligue 1 leaders clinch frantic draw

AS Monaco’s perfect Ligue 1 record this season ended at Nantes on Friday night. After going 3-1 down, the Ligue 1 leaders restored parity in the last ten minutes courtesy of out-of-favour Dutch forward Myron Boadu. As for Nantes, they will regret their shortcomings in game management but, in fairness, they were mostly dominated by Les Monégasques. Arsène Wenger remains the sole Monaco boss to win his first three competitive games.

Cheered on by a vibrant Beaujoire, the hosts started brilliantly, with bravery and intensity. An inspired through ball from Kader Bamba fed Moses Simon on the left. The Nigerian winger dribbled past Denis Zakaria and the former Chelsea midfielder brought down his man in the box. M. Pignard pointed to the spot and Mostafa Mohamed duly wrong-footed Philipp Köhn only five minutes in. Les Monégasques thought they had a penalty of their own when midfield powerhouse Douglas Augusto blatantly prevented Aleksandr Golovin a clear shot at point blank range – but M. Pignard was unimpressed.

It proved the first half’s turning point, with Jean-Charles Castelletto heading home from a corner mere seconds later. It was redemption night for the Cameroon international centre-back after asking Nantes to let him go. At 2-0 down after 15 minutes, the Principality side could have crumbled entirely. Fortunately for Hütter’s side, they have a player reborn in their ranks: Takumi Minamino. The Japan international headed in his third goal of the campaign from a precise cross from Caio Henrique. Monaco finished a breathless first half on a high, dominating a tiring Nantes midfield.

We could have expected Monaco to pick up where they left off, but they did not. The visitors completely switched off and Quentin Merlin’s tame low cross on the left found an unmarked Mohamed to make it 3-1. However, Nantes failed again to properly manage their two-goal lead with their defensive woes still very much on show. Wissam Ben Yedder made the most of a goalmouth scramble to score the game’s fifth goal before we had even reached the hour mark.

Monaco were then well on top of proceedings, with Nantes parking the proverbial bus and relying on stalwart centre-back Nicoals Pallois to put out fires left and right. However, like in the first two Ligue 1 games, Les Canaris broke down late on. Substitute Boadu was alert to find the back of the net after Youssouf Fofana had headed onto the crossbar five minutes from time. Nantes were then denied a penalty shout in injury time after Wilfried Singo had collided with Ignatius Ganago. Both sides eventually shared the spoils, although it was hard to tell which of these teams would be the most disappointed by tonight’s result. Despite finding the back of the net three times in three shots, Nantes had every right to be frustrated but Monaco were, by far, the better side.

Nantes players ratings

Rémy Descamps, 6

Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel, 5

Jean-Charles Castelletto, 5

Nicolas Pallois, 5

Marcus Coco, 4

Douglas Augusto, 6

Pedro Chirivella, 5

Quentin Merlin, 5

Kader Bamba, 6 – The right-sided winger was a lively outlet on Nantes’ right flank and played a hand in his side’s three goals. A welcome return to form for a player who has never really made his mark so far for Les Canaris, spending the last two seasons out on loan. With Arsenal winger Marquinhos arriving on loan, Pierre Aristouy might have a selection headache now.

Mostafa Mohamed, 7 – The ever-reliable Egyptian forward is admirably shouldering his side’s goalscoring burden. A coolly taken penalty and a composed finish mean he now has three goals in as many Ligue 1 games. He also never shies away from his defensive duties.

Moses Simon, 6

Monaco players ratings

Philipp Köhn, 4

Wilfried Singo, 5

Denis Zakaria, 4 – A difficult outing for the former Chelsea midfielder. He has not shown the same level of serenity as against Strasbourg last week in an unnatural centre-back role for him. He was too easily dribbled past by Simon before conceding a very unnecessary penalty to gift Nantes the opener. Mohamed gave him a hard time as well.

Soungoutou Magassa, 5

Vanderson, 4

Mohamed Camara, 5

Youssouf Fofana, 5

Caio Henrique, 4

Aleksandr Golovin, 4

Takumi Minamino, 6 – Monaco’s man of the moment. The former Liverpool striker was the visitors’ most potent attacking player. He worked tirelessly off the ball and gave his side a flicker of hope in halving his side’s deficit in the first half. He now has five goal contributions in three games.

Wissam Ben Yedder, 5

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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