The match kicked off in glacial conditions with the temperature close to freezing point. But the heat was on AS Monaco straight away, as Bayer came storming out of the blocks and penned the visitors back in the opening seconds. Within the first twenty minutes of play, the German side had already racked up five efforts on goal, with Hakan drawing a brace of good saves Subasic (2 mins and 20 mins). The Croatian 'keeper was then saved by his crossbar following a Bender volley (25 mins)!
Carvalho set to miss the Zenit clash
It was all hands to the pump for the visitors, and they were forced to wait until 38 minutes into proceedings for their first shot, but Berbatov couldn't find the target. Just before the break, Carvalho was penalised for a handball outside the area, in the process collecting a booking that will rule him out of the final group game against Zenit. There was just time for Hakan to register a couple of efforts from a free kick , both of which were blocked by the Monaco wall, before the referee blew for half-time to give the visitors a welcome respite, and they could count themselves slightly fortunate to go in with the scores all square.
Bayer untighten the screws
The German side came out after the break seemingly determined to ratchet up the pressure. The first effort of the second half came from the boot of Hakan in the 54th minute, but the reliable Subasic held onto his low strike. The Red & Whites then earned themselves a corner, after Elderson delivered a probing cross that was cut out before it could reach the waiting Dirar (57 mins). The clearance found its way to Toulalan, but the Monegasque captain was unable to keep his volley down. The match seemed to be turning around and AS Monaco gradually began to loosen the Germans' vice-like grip on the game, although they were relieved to see two big Bayer chances go begging as Drmic and Hakan both missed golden opportunities.
A master stroke by Leonardo Jardim
On 70 minutes, Leonardo Jardim sent on Lucas Ocampos in place of Ferreira Carrasco, in what turned out to be a tactical master stroke. The Argentine's impact was immediate, as he produced a triple sombrero before moving the ball on to Berbatov, who somehow danced his way past four opponents on the right touchline. He then found Dirar, and the Moroccan delivered a perfect first-time cross into the middle, with Ocampos ghosting in between the centre backs to guide the ball home and finish the move he had started, barely two minutes after coming on. It was a crucial goal for the visitors, and the stunned Germans were unable to find a way back into the game.
As in the first game between the two sides, AS Monaco were solid at the back and stood firm against Bayer's waves of attacks. And once again, they found the clinical touch that they have often been lacking this season. One goal from one shot on target tonight was enough to secure the win that keeps AS Monaco second in the group, a point ahead of Zenit and a point behind Bayer. The Monegasques have their destiny very much in their own hands going into the final group game. Better still, tonight's victory eliminated Benfica and ensured AS Monaco will still be playing in Europe in 2015 whatever happens at the Stade Louis-II on 9 December.