Leonardo Jardim's men started the match brightly and had their opponents well and truly on the back foot during the opening quarter-hour with almost 80% possession! On 16 minutes, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco stayed down after a challenge with Thomasson. Having taken the ball full in the face, it seemed the Belgian winger was just stunned, but in fact he had twisted his ankle and was forced off early. Dimitar Berbatov had barely made it onto the pitch, when Anthony Martial unleashed a thunderbolt that flew into the top corner of Leroy's net!
Gems from Martial and Berbatov
The French under-21 international collected an inch-perfect pass from Fabinho on the left side of the box, shifted the ball onto his right foot in a crowd of defenders and gave the Évian 'keeper no chance with a powerful snap shot (18 mins). With half-time approaching, AS Monaco doubled their tally through Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian was found by Joao Moutinho in the area, beat a defender and calmly rounded Leroy before nonchalantly netting with the outside of the boot. It was a gem of a goal, the kind that only "Berba" can produce, and his seventh of the season in Ligue 1. Straight afterwards, both Martial and Moutinho were foiled by Leroy as AS Monaco came close to a third.
The Red & Whites looked to have done the hard part, but ETG FC were not ready to throw in the towel just yet. In the second half, Barbosa and former Monegasque Mongongu replaced Wass and Cambon for the home side. But Martial then went on a barnstorming run, carrying the ball the whole length of the pitch, beating opponents one after the other. With support from Berbatov, he went for goal from a tight angle, but this time Leroy shut the door (48 mins). The Évian 'keeper then did the same again, from a free kick by Layvin Kurzawa (58 mins), but was powerless against the determination of Touré. On his sixth professional appearance, the young defender collected a corner and beat Leroy with a volley at the second attempt (60 mins) to score his second goal at this level, and his very first in Ligue 1!
Sougou gives ETG hope
With a three goal cushion it looked like game over, but Sougou pulled one back in the 76th minute to give the home side hope. Having come on as a substitute six minutes earlier, he slammed home a drilled cross from the left. There were just under fifteen minutes left on the clock, and Évian made their final throw of the dice. Moutinho sent a free kick skimming the post in the 81st minute, but it was a shot from Thomasson that had the crowd on their feet in the closing stages. Subasic got a hand to the ball, Kurzawa deflected it onto the bar and the two players then combined to block two desperate efforts on the line! It was a remarkable chance, and a reminder to the Red & Whites that there is no such thing as an easy win. In the end though, AS Monaco claimed the three points that keep them in touch with the top three in Ligue 1.