The perfect start
Leonardo Jardim opted to keep faith with the same starting eleven that saw off RC Lens in their last match, with a centre-back pairing of Carvalho and Abdennour, Fabinho in a defensive midfield role and Martial as the sole striker. The home side started at full throttle and inside 2 minutes Moutinho overlapped beautifully before finding Kondogbia, whose shot from just outside the area forced Ahamada into a superb stop on his line! Seven minutes later, following a short corner routine with Carrasco, Silva threaded his way into the box, and with no challenge forthcoming the Portuguese had time to line up a shot that took a slight deflection and ended up in the back of the net. It was his eighth goal of the season.
Toulouse with the response
After fifteen minutes of total Monegasque dominance , the visitors looked to respond. They did so timidly as first, with a scuffed effort from Akpro in the 19th minute. Eight minutes later, Trejo launched a lightning counter-attack that culminated with Braithwaite slotting past Subasic to draw the sides level. It was the first goal AS Monaco had conceded in the first half of a game since the trip to Rennes on 29 November, a run of 19 matches. Toulouse were enjoying something of a purple patch, and took advantage to draw a good save from Subasic on 32 minutes through Ben Yedder, before Braithwaite tried his luck from 25 yards but sent the ball wide of the post (36 mins).
The Red & Whites storm ahead
AS Monaco timed their response perfectly to retake the lead just before the break. In added time at the end of the first-half, Martial won a penalty after a foul by Trejo. The Frenchman dusted himself off and converted the spot kick himself. The Red & Whites started the second period strongly and were duly rewarded for their efforts in the 56th minute, as Raggi delivered a perfect cross from the right and Moutinho popped up at the near post to plant an unstoppable header into the net! With the home side leading 3-1, the match became disjointed with no real flow and few chances.
Toulouse looked to have given up with the Red & Whites happy to protect their healthy lead, and a pair of red cards for Dirar and Kana-Biyik following an altercation in the penalty area did nothing to change the pattern of proceedings. Having come on as a substitute right at the death, Valère Germain even extended Monaco's lead in time added-on. Sent through by Moutinho, he took on Ahamada and beat the 'keeper from inside the box with a shot inside the far post. The Red & Whites got back to winning ways at the Louis-II at the ideal time, extending their lead in the Ligue 1 table over ASSE and OM to five points. Next week's clash at the Stade Vélodrome looks crucial…