Against a Metz side that was clearly determined to put up stiff resistance despite having already been relegated to Ligue 2, the Red & Whites got off to a disjointed start. The visitors were closing down the spaces and it took until the 10th minute for the first shot in anger, as Carrasco put an effort over the bar from the edge of the box. After a patchy opening fifteen minutes, the temperature began to rise. Fabinho sent in a daisy-cutter that failed to trouble Obehauser (16 mins). Then Moutinho went for goal with the outside of the right boot, but failed to hit the target (17 mins). With 24 minutes on the clock, Martial 's shot was deflected behind. The resulting corner was taken by Carrasco but came to nothing. On 25 minutes, Moutinho picked up the ball in the visitors' penalty area and attempted to dribble his way through, but his claims for a handball were ignored by the referee Mr Delerue. Moments later, Ben Youssef got his head to a good cross from Metanir but sent his effort wide of the post. The match was coming to life.
Bernardo, aka Zorro!
Having gotten free down the left, Carrasco opted to shoot but once again went his effort wide of the post. As the frustration mounted, there were the stirrings of discontent from the Louis-II crowd. The players responded by upping the pressure on the Metz goal, and Kurzawa saw a header skim Oberhauser's crossbar following a free kick from out wide by Carrasco (31 mins). It was then Silva's turn to threaten. Running into the area onto a ball over the top, he connected with a volley by was unable to direct the shot on target (35 mins). With five minutes left before the break, Carvalho sent a header wide from another lovely Carrasco free kick, before Martial popped up with two chances in quick succession. First, he was found by Moutinho in a great position by was thwarted by Oberhauser, and immediately afterwards was scythed down in the box but denied a penalty. The first half looked set to be frustratingly fruitless for AS Monaco, until Bernardo Silva swept to the rescue, Zorro style, with a goal to break the deadlock in the dying moments!
The second half started with a charge by Martial down the right. The French U21 international made his way into the box and moved the ball on to his right foot but saw his shot blocked (48 mins). Carrasco was then denied by some last-ditch defending as he shaped to slot into an empty net, after collecting a perfect pass from Silva (51 mins)! AS Monaco had missed a great chance to put daylight between the sides, and suddenly the supporters were fearing the worst. It took a superb intervention by Carvalho a few minutes later to prevent Falcon from shooting (58 mins)! But with an hour gone, the pressure eased. FC Metz looked to venture forward a little more, but their sporadic attacks were mopped up by a watchful Monegasque defence. It wasn't until the 67th minute that the home side threatened again, with Kondogbia heading over from a corner, before Kurzawa smashed in a free kick that Oberhauser tipped away with a firm hand (71 mins).
Germain the supersub!
Bussman looked to respond on 73 minutes with a powerful effort that flew into the stand, before substitute Maïga sent a shot wide of the far post (78 mins)… Another substitute, AS Monaco's Dirar, then got free down the right and sent in a low cross towards the far post for the waiting Bernardo, but Oberhauser dealt with the danger (80 mins). Dirar was in space again on 85 minutes to drive in another cross aimed at Silva. The Portuguese let the ball run on for Kurzawa, whose effort was well wide. Shortly after that, Germain came on in place of Martial to the acclaim of the Louis-II and within seconds had secured the points for AS Monaco, blasting home after an inch-perfect pass from Silva! In the last moments, Dirar missed two opportunities to add to the score, but the job was very much done by that stage. The 2-0 victory sees AS Monaco retain their two point advantage over OM and St-Etienne. And so the fight for third place will go down to the wire, as Leonardo Jardim and his men travel to Lorient on the final day in search of a win to round off their superb second half of the season!