While the game started slowly, it took just four minutes for AS Monaco to carve out the first chance of the night. And what a chance it was! Fabinho popped up in the Corsican box and had the chance to shoot, but opted to pass to a surprised Boschilia, who was unable to get the touch needed to steer the ball home. Ajaccio were well drilled at the back, playing on the counter and relaying on the speed of Nouri and Madri. The former was found in the 6th minute, but De Sanctis came out quickly to prevent him from getting a shot on target. The Italian ‘keeper was then called into action to stop a shot from Madri (12 mins).
Falcao unpicks the lock
The Red & Whites were looking comfortable, moving the ball around as they waited for another opportunity. Which duly came in the 19th minute, when Mbappé overlapped down the left and drilled in a cross for Falcao. The Columbian arrived at the near post, volleying past Mandanda to claim his first goal of the year with his first shot! Before the break, the Ajaccio ‘keeper need to be alert once again to deal with a free-kick from out wide by Boschilia and a daisy-cutter from Silva. AS Monaco went in at half-time with a slender advantage.
Generous penalty for Cavalli
In the second half, Leonardo Jardim’s men looked to build on that advantage from the outset, but bothFalcao (47 mins) and Mbappé (48 mins) were denied by the crossbar. In between those two efforts, Mandanda produced a fine save to keep out Boschilia’s curling strike. Just before the hour mark, Mbappé beat several defenders in the area and saw his shot deflected behind. ACA were still in with a shout, and got a helping hand from the referee on 65 minutes, when Madri ran into Diallo in the box and was awarded the most generous of penalties. Cavalli powered home from the spot, despite the best efforts of De Sanctis.
Germain sets the record straight
It looked like AS Monaco were about to be caught out by a potential banana skin, but Germain – who had come on just before the Corsicans’ equaliser – met Moutinho’s free kick perfectly to head past Mandanda and put AS Monaco back in front before any doubts had time to set in (66 mins). Mandanda pulled off a string of top class saves late on to prevent the home side from pulling further ahead, denying Falcao (69 mins), Silva (82 mins) and Germain (83 mins). De Sanctis did the same to keep out a header from Madri (83 mins). There were no more changes to the scoreline, as AS Monaco claimed a 2-1 win and a deserved spot in the last 32.