After the lovely sight of the two teams posing for the pre-match souvenir photo, match referee Mr Rainville blew his whistle to kick off this first game of 2016. Against the amateur side cheered on by a large contingent of supporters, it was Bahlouli who got things going with a powerful strike that shaved the right-hand post, before sending in a volley that was held by the visitors’ goalkeeper (9 and 11 mins). After Fabinho saw a shot deflected behind for a corner (15 mins), AS Monaco broke the deadlock in the 21st minute, as Silva sent Costa clear down the left. The Portuguese winger’s low cross found Traoré, who beat Blois to the ball and slotted into the empty net. St-Jean-Beaulieu resisted for a few minutes, but folded completely on the half-hour mark.
Traoré bags four
Raggi doubled the home side’s lead in the 28th minute, heading in Moutinho’s free kick. Then Traoré helped himself to two more goals in the 31st and 33rd minutes, the first after being sent through by Fabinho, and the second after being set up in front of goal by Lemar. The visitors did have a great opportunity to pull one back before the break. After Nardi involuntarily handled Raggi’s back pass, they won an indirect free kick inside the home side’s penalty area, which the Monegasque ‘keeper saved in style. But the final chance of the first half fell to Lacina Traoré, who collected Moutinho’s pass and poached his fourth of the evening in the 45th minute, putting the Red & Whites 5-0 up as the sides headed back to the dressing rooms.
10 vs 10
Both sides came out a man down in the second half , following red cards for Traoré and Mariotti during the half-time break. But the dismissals did little to change the pattern of the game, as Bahlouli lobbed Blois in the 48th minute to notch the home side’s sixth. Costa was then fouled by Leblanc in the area, winning a penalty that Fabinho calmly dispatched (53 mins). Costa then netted himself moments later, running onto Lemar’s through ball down the left channel and hammering a shot across Blois and inside the far post (55 mins). The visitors grabbed a face-saving consolation through Leblanc in the 76th minute, but Pasalic immediately replied with Monaco’s ninth, a fine header from a corner.
Fabinho has the last word
There was hardly time to draw breath, as seconds later Nardi came out to meet a long ball and brought down Tahtouh in the box. Sahour scored from the spot with the inadvertent assistance of Nardi, as the ball rebounded off the bar and in off the ‘keeper’s back. Before the final whistle, there was just time for Costa to speed through the St-Jean-Beaulieu defence and win yet another penalty after a foul by Silvestri. Fabinho smashed it home to round off the scoring. The final score was 10-2 to AS Monaco, a thumping win and an excellent way to start 2016!