The complexion of this game was turned on its head inside three minutes, as referee Mr Bien awarded a penalty and showed Dabo a red card for his foul on Helder Costa in the box. Lacina Traoré took responsibility for the spot kick, but his effort lacked power and Bernardoni went the right way to hold onto the ball. In the 12th minute, it looked as if the Ivorian would get another chance from the spot after he was scythed down from behind in the area, but the referee merely waved play on.
SIEGE ON THE TROYES GOAL
It was the signal for the Monegasques to carve out a string of dangerous openings, with Fabinho going close in the 23rd minute, followed by Wallace after a cut back from Lemar (30 mins) and Traoré, who put a perfect cross from Fabinho over the bar under pressure from the defender (36 mins). AS Monaco were playing at a brisk tempo and putting together some good football, but the Troyes defence held firm, with Bernardoni in particular in excellent form.
LEMAR DENIED BY THE POST
The second half continued in much the same vein. In the 48th minute, Lacina Traoré met a drilled Dirar cross with his head, but directed the ball wide of the goal. Two minutes later, the Ivorian showed lovely skill to work himself space but sliced his shot off target. The biggest chance of the second half came in the 55th minute when Lemar, who was pulling the strings all evening, saw his deflected effort thump against the left-hand post of the seemingly beaten Bernardoni. Leonardo Jardim then opted to reshuffle his strike force, sending on Silva and El Shaarawy in place of Carvalho and Traoré. But although there was no let up in the pressure on the Troyes goal, chances became few and far between as the second period went on. A volley from Costa in the box on 88 minutes was the only real opening.
There was a frantic end to the game. In the 91st minute, Nabil Dirar was sent clean through and rounded the ‘keeper, but found himself off-balance and was unable to slide the ball into the empty net. It was then the turn of Troyens to cause havoc in the Monegasque defence, first through Cabot in the 92nd and then with Pi’s shot a minute later, which was deflected and shaved Nardi’s left post. The game ended goalless. The Red & Whites are now provisionally second in the table, although that may change when SCO d’Angers play Saint-Etienne tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Red & Whites head off for their winter break and a well-earned rest after an intense first half of the season. Their next game is at the Stade Louis-II on 3 January, when they play J.S. ST JEAN BEAULIEU in the Coupe de France.