While the Red & Whites looked to come out the blocks fast, they were up against a Caen side determined to keep things tight in the early stages. Inside the second minute, Da Silva picked up a booking for a foul on Lemar. The free kick from out wide on the left came to nothing, but it set the tone. The game was rather patchy for the first fifteen minutes, as AS Monaco struggled to get behind the Normans’ defence, and it was Santini who had the first chance of the match in the 16th minute. Collecting an inch-perfect pass from Féret on the edge of the box, he unleashed an instant shot that deflected off Sidibé and onto the crossbar!
Lemar finds the Caen wall
Though they failed to trouble the Monegasque defence any further, Caen seemed to gain in confidence while the Red & Whites were having trouble getting their own game going. In the 22nd minute, Jemerson intervened superbly to deny Rodelin in the box, before Subasic held a fine header from Yahia moments later (27 mins). During the final quarter-hour of the first half, Lemar and Silva both attempted to inject some energy into proceedings, the latter earning a promising free-kick which the former was unable to convert (36 mins). Before the break, the Caen defence was put under intense pressure with a series of crosses, but dealt with the threat well and the two sides went in at half time all square after a well-matched first period.
Falcao from the spot
The second half started in ideal fashion for AS Monaco. Mbappé bamboozled his defender in the box and found Lemar, whose shot was pushed away by Dreyer but only as far as Falcao, who had followed up. The Caen ‘keeper did his best to stop the Columbian but brought him down in the area. Referee Mr Varela awarded a deserved penalty, and Falcao sent Dreyer the wrong way to claim his 11th goal of the season in Ligue 1 and put AS Monaco in front (48 mins). The match took another turn in the 53rd minute, when Da Silva collected a second yellow for a foul on Mbappé, leaving the visitors with ten men and 40 minutes still to play. The stage seemed set for AS Monaco to go on and rack up the goals, but Dreyer delayed the reckoning.
Bakayoko adds a second
The Caen ‘keeper won his one-on-one with Lemar (60 mins), then somehow kept out a point blank effort from Mbappé (61 mins)! The Norman side were still in the game and even came close to snatching an equaliser in the 68th minute. After Karamoh was denied by Subasic, Féret collected the ball and contrived to miss the target with the goal gaping! After surviving that scare, AS Monaco put themselves out of the visitors’ reach with a goal from Bakayoko, who caught Dreyer out with a long-range effort. AS Monaco were on course for a 13th win of the season in Ligue 1, and Bazile’s late consolation goal was not enough to deny them. The Red & Whites end the first half of the season on 42 points, and see out 2016 with a victory! Their next game is on 6 January, when they welcome Ajaccio in the Coupe de France. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.