There was a healthy crowd at the Stade Louis-II as this first competitive home game of the season got under way (attendance: 10,500). Having adopted a very defensive approach in the first leg, this time Young Boys came out with a much more attacking mindset as they looked to turn the tie around. And the Swiss side dominated the early stages, against a Monegasque outfit that were waiting for the right moment to pounce. That moment almost came in the 10th minute, when Moutinho swept a fine through ball for Dirar on a lightning counter-attack. The Moroccan made inroads down the right flank and cut the ball back cleverly to Pasalic, who had an excellent sight of goal from the edge of the box, only to see his effort blocked in extremis (10 mins)! It was then the turn of Martial, whose curling shot was deflected behind for a corner. The set piece came to nothing, but the Red & Whites were up and running in the game!
A well-matched first half
In the 25th minute, Martial was sent running into space in the Swiss half. Beating a defender on the left of the penalty area, he was scythed down by Vilotic, who was promptly shown a yellow card. Moutinho stepped up to send the free-kick just over the bar. The Portuguese was back in the thick of the action ten minutes later with another attempt. Running on to a cutback from Kurzawa, he controlled the ball and struck a low effort towards goal, but Mvogo was in the way. Moments later, Subasic dived to push away a fine strike by Afum. The last big chance of the first half went to AS Monaco, as Martial was blocked at the last moment as he shaped to shoot in the Swiss box. The teams went in at half-time with the scoreline nil-nil.
Cavaleiro breaks the deadlock
In the second half, YB upped the pressure on the Red & Whites' defence. On 50 minutes, Subasic pulled off a good stop to keep out a long-range effort from Gajic, and then immediately produced another block from Sulejmani who had followed up. Sutter ten tried his luck from the right-hand side of the penalty area, but sent his effort past the far post. After a difficult five-minute spell, AS Monaco finally made a break out of their own half and quickly made the breakthrough thanks to Cavaleiro. The Portuguese picked up the ball on the left of the bow and curled a right-footed strike through a crowd of defenders, with the ball nestling in the far corner of Mvogo's net (55 mins)! The Red & Whites were now totally uninhibited and began to mount wave after wave of attacks. They won three corners in quick succession on the left. From the third, Kurzawa let Moutinho's cross at the near post to head in the second Monegasque goal (63 mins)!
El Shaarawy grabs his first goal
As if by design, the third goal arrived five minutes later when Raggi turned up on the right wing to lay a perfect ball on for Martial in front of the Swiss goal. The French U21 international was left with the simple task of poking the ball home (69 mins)! He was replaced by Carillo shortly afterward, with El Shaarawy then coming on in place of Cavaleiro. With his first touch, the Italian beat several defenders and hammered a shot beneath Mvogo's crossbar and into the net from the edge of the area (76 mins)! With the scoreline at 4-0, the Louis-II crowd was in full flow, having watched their team score four goals in the space of twenty minutes! The latter stages of the game were a mere formality, although Dirar came close to notching a fifth, hitting the post with a sudden strike in the 90th minute. Their 7-1 aggregate victory over Young Boys over two legs saw the Red & Whites secure their spot in the UEFA Champions League play-offs at the end of August! The draw will take place on Friday, with the new Ligue 1 campaign set to kick off on Saturday with the derby against Nice at the Allianz Riviera !