Lining up with a new look defence, owing to the last minute withdrawals of Carvalho and Raggi and the continued absence of the injured Kurzawa, AS Monaco got off to a good start. And it was a defender - Fabinho - who distinguished himself on 13 minutes with a lobbed cross-shot that Riou tipped onto his crossbar! Moments later, Riou was called into action once again to deal with a Berbatov header from a free-kick out wide by Moutinho (15 mins). In the 17th minute, the Portuguese midfielder then swivelled and drilled in a shot that required yet another intervention by the Lens 'keeper.
Wallace given his marching orders!
Lens' first chance of the night came from a 19th minute free kick by Bourigeaud, which was blocked by the AS Monaco wall. With 20 minutes gone, the visitors were breathing a little more easily, and their prospects improved further with the expulsion of the unfortunate Wallace, who was making his first senior start. The Brazilian defender was penalized for a foul on Bourigeaud just outside the area, but the wall once again stood firm against the Lens free kick. AS Monaco were suddenly faced with having to play for over an hour with ten men, and Toulalan took up position in the centre of defence for the remainder of the game.
Berbatov breaks the deadlock
Despite their numerical inferiority, the home side showed plenty of attacking intent after the break. On 58 minutes, Riou pushed a superb far-post shot from Abdennour onto his bar, before seeing a Berbatov volley skim his right-hand post (61 mins). AS Monaco were rewarded for their efforts on 62 minutes, when Berbatov won a deserved penalty after he was fouled by Lemoigne in the Lens box. The Bulgarian took the spot-kick himself, sending Riou the wrong way to open the scoring.
Subasic to the rescue
The Monegasques' joy was short-lived, however, as Lens earned a penalty of their own on 69 minutes following a foul by Martial on Coulibaly. Valdivia was handed the responsibility and a golden opportunity to draw his side level, but Subasic had other ideas and kept out the spot-kick. The ball came back out to the Lens midfielder, who missed with the goal gaping. The visitors had let their chance go begging and Carrasco made sure of the points with a wonderful curling effort in added time.
AS Monaco back on track
After the defeat at Rennes, the players responded admirably in difficult circumstances. Tonight's win, achieved despite their numerical inferiority, will no doubt give the team a big boost to morale ahead of their trip to Toulouse on Friday, with the visits of Zenit and OM to come next week. AS Monaco had not won in Ligue 1 for four games. They are now four points off the top three, pending the rest of the results from matchday 16.