After a cagey opening, AS Monaco carved out the first chance of the night through Martial, but he was blocked as he shaped to shoot following a lovely mazy run in the area (8 mins). After Marange sent a long-range effort off-target (10 mins), Matheus then saw his header cleared off the line by Romaric (14 mins). The Red & Whites continued to probe down the left, and moments later Kurzawa pulled the ball back to the waiting Martial, who slipped as he was about to pull the trigger and saw his shot fly wide (15 mins). It was a case of third time lucky for the French U21 international, who took an excellent Dirar cross from the right wing and slammed the ball home from point blank range (23 mins).
Matheus nets his first goal for AS Monaco
Leonardo Jardim's men were off to the ideal start, but were hungry for more and continued to give the Bastia defence a torrid time, dominating with almost 70% possession. On 32 minutes, Diakité brought down Matheus in the visitors' box. The punishment was immediate: a penalty and a red card. Kurzawa took the spot kick, but Aréola managed to push away the AS Monaco left-back's fierce strike. But the Bastia 'keeper could do nothing to prevent Matheus opening his account for the Red & Whites two minutes later. Once again Dirar was the provider, putting the ball on a plate for the Brazilian to score his first goal with an unstoppable volley from six yards! Such was the Monegasques' dominance in the opening period, the visitors might have been happy to be only two goals down at half-time.
Martial notches his first brace
The Bastia nightmare continued after the break. Kurzawa found Matheus in the area, but Aréola pushed away the Brazilian's effort (50 mins). Matheus then bagged himself an assist a minute later, rolling the ball across goal for Anthony Martial, who had the simplest of finishes to make it 3-0, in the process collecting his first ever two-goal haul in Ligue 1 (51 mins). He even came close to a hat-trick on 62 minutes, but after a magnificent piece of control in the Bastia area, he saw his shot saved by Aréola. Leonardo Jardim then opted to send Berbatov on in place of Dirar, the Bulgarian going up front with Martial moving out to the left.
First 3-0 win
On 72 minutes, having only just come on as a substitute, Bastia's Sio was sent off for planting his studs on Kurzawa's thigh, leaving SCB to see out the game with nine men. It looked as if the Corsicans were in for an uncomfortable last 20 minutes or so, but AS Monaco were content to defend their lead without going all out for a fourth goal. The 3-0 win is hugely satisfying, both in terms of the scoreline and the boost to confidence. With no need for the Monegasques to dig too deep, the result is ideal preparation for Tuesday's clash with Arsenal and keeps the pressure on Marseille ahead of "l'Olympico" next Sunday evening...