While a game against Sochaux brings back pleasant memories of the 2003 cup final win against tonight’s opponents, it also saw disappointment last season when Les Lionceaux knocked AS Monaco out of the Coupe de France (2-1). The Monegasques went into this game with that recent defeat fresh in their minds. Leonardo Jardim opted to start with Carrillo and Germain up front, with Bakayoko, Lemar and Glik all returning to the starting line-up. After a first chance for the visitors with Carrillo’s strike held by Dilo, Sochaux demonstrated their counter-attacking prowess. In the 15th minute, Karanovic seized on a loose ball to drive down the middle before looking left to find the overlapping Andriatsima, who beat Subasic with a shot that crept just inside the post to make it 1-0 to Sochaux.
The rest of the first half was a story of attack against defence, with AS Monaco showing plenty of attacking endeavour but unable to find a way through against a Sochaux side ready to seize on the slightest mistake to launch a lightning break. Jemerson (twice), Glik and Subasic all had to make last-distch interventions to deny a second goal for the home side, who went in at the break a goal to the good. It looked like substitutions were in the offing, and this was duly confirmed at half-time. Raggi came off to be replaced by Sidibé, while Silva came on for Jean.
The changes very nearly paid dividends immediately ! Sidibé crossed from the left and found the head of his Portuguese teammate hovering around the penalty spot. Gibaut inadvertently got something on the ball, slowing its trajectory and allowing Dilo to catch the ball somewhat fortunately. It was all Monaco in the second half, and their efforts were rewarded in the 83rd minute. After Falcao saw a shot deflected, the ball fell to Moutinho on the edge of the box, and the European Champion arrowed a fine strike into the top corner to give the visitors a richly deserved equaliser!
AS Monaco even came within inches of taking the lead moments later. After a mix-up in the Sochaux defence, the ball found its way to Falcao who slotted home. But the assistant referee concluded that Carrillo had unsighted the Sochaux ‘keeper from the Columbian’s strike. So the match went to penalties, to decide which of the sides would go through. In the shoot-out, the Monegasques had the steelier nerves, and despite Carrillo’s miss, Leonardo Jardim’s with his effort . The draw takes place on Wednesday, while AS Monaco travel to Marseille in their next game on Sunday (21.00)!