Monaco conceded a draw (1-1) against the Dutch PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday, August 2, in the third preliminary round of the Champions League. The Monegasques were in control for the first half hour of the match before getting trapped. Victory eluded them, despite the great chances they had at the end of the match.
In the afternoon they had learned that in the event of qualifying, they would face the winner of the duel between Union Saint-Gilloise and Glasgow Rangers in the play-offs (the Belgians beat the Scots 2-0 in the first leg in the afternoon), August 16-17 and 23-24, with a return to Louis-II, thus avoiding the ogre Benfica who crushed Midtjylland (4-1). To access it, the principality’s players now know that they will have to win in the Netherlands, in a week, since goals scored away from home are worthless in the event of a draw.
The choice of crime
For this season opener, Monegasque coach Philippe Clement had opted for the entry offense. With the Minamino-Volland-Ben Yedder-Golovin quartet in front, but without the most used side during the preparation. Brazilian offensive Vanderson was preferred to Rubén Aguilar, however, the man who has played the most in the last six weeks. Caio Henrique, affected by Covid-19, was replaced by a struggling Ismail Jakobs on the left side before the vivacity of the Spanish-Moroccan Ismael Saibari.
In addition, after a deep run by the latter, relieved by Ibrahim Sangaré and Gus Til, center forward and captain Luuk De Jong perfectly displaced Joey Veerman. The striker wrapped up his shot perfectly without giving Monaco goalkeeper Alexander Nüber a chance (0-1, 39me). First shot on goal and first goal for the Dutch who, until then, had calmly dominated the timid Monegasque attempts.
Certainly, there was this Youssouf Fofana shot deflected, in his area, by opposing defender Jordan Teze (32me). But after consulting the video images, the Italian referee, Mr. Massa, did not award a penalty. Despite his mobility, Aleksandr Golovin regularly lacked quickness. And his teammates in the attack squad have been below the level necessary to access the Champions League.
A pole and regrets
After the break, the Monegasques finally pushed with consistency. For his part, Minamino (49me), Volland (58me) and Ben Yedder (60me) have had possibilities, without being precise enough. And when Vanderson’s center took the opposing defense from behind, there was no one at the reception.
It was then that Clemente decided to give impetus to a new dynamic. Gelson Martins, Krepin Diatta and especially the Swiss rookie Breel Embolo weighed even more heavily on the Dutch rearguard. At the end of the match, goalkeeper Walter Benítez, who had never won in the Principality with Nice, logically bowed to Axel Disasi, author of the tie, receiving a free kick from Ismail Jakobs, deflected with a header by Youssouf Fofana (1- 1, 80me).
The Monegasques even came close to winning late in the match, but Fofana’s header hit the opposite post (88me). In a week in the Netherlands, these regrets will have to be swept away at the Philips Stadion.
“We stayed a little in our hunger, admitted Axel Disasi after the meeting. We had a good game overall. They were realistic on their only occasion (…) Each game has its history and we know that it will be very difficult there. We know this stadium and its atmosphere. The team that is more focused, makes fewer mistakes and is more daring will qualify. We will have to look for luck. »
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