Leonardo Jardim surprised everyone at the start of the game by lining up Fabinho alongside Bakayoko in front of the defence, with Raggi moving to right-back and Toulalan partnering Wallace at centre-back. Moutinho was handed the playmaker’s role, with Thomas Lemar taking up a position out wide on the left. Lorient were unfazed by the tactical set-up, however, and quickly threatened. Inside the first five minutes, Mesloub drove forward down the right and crossed for Jeannot, who missed his attempted shot in the box under pressure from Raggi.
A forgettable first half
Lorient were in the ascendancy in the first period, preventing the Monegasques from getting the ball out of their own half. Unable to create even a sniff of a chance themselves, the Red & Whites were kept on the back foot by the home side’s efforts. Fortunately, the alert Subasic was equal to attempts by Jouffre (20 mins and 45+1 mins) and Jeannot (26 mins). Lorient’s biggest opportunity came in the 23rd minute, as Ndong drilled a low cross into the Monaco box for Jeannot to hit first time, the ball shaving the frame of Subasic’s goal. Already under pressure, the visitors lost Nabil Dirar to a thigh injury in the 28th minute. Against a Lorient side who showed plenty of enterprise but a lack of cutting edge in front of goal (1 shot on target out of 6), AS Monaco were in a decent position at half-time (0-0).
Talent shines through
Whilst Lorient were the first side to go close in the second half through Jeannot and then Mesloub (51 mins), AS Monaco sprang into life in the 53rd minute. Moutinho delivered a superb pass into the penalty area to find Lemar, who struck a venomous shot that bounced down off the crossbar before spinning over the line, with goal line technology providing the confirmation. Four minutes later, Joao Moutinho gave Lecomte absolutely no chance with a curling free kick into the corner of the Lorient net. It was a ruthless display of attacking efficiency from the Red & Whites, who had scored from both of their two chances in the game.
Back into the top three
AS Monaco were looking a different proposition in this second half, carving out chance after chance. In the 61st minute, Carrillo met Lemar’s cross with a powerful near post header that forced Lecomte into an incredible save. On 64 minutes, Coentrao popped up the far post to head just wide. The Monegasques were playing fast, precise football but suffered a blow in the 69th minute as Jérémy Toulalan went off with an adductor injury, to be replaced by Pasalic. Leonardo Jardim’s men saw out the remainder of the game comfortably to secure a win that takes them back up to second spot. They will be in action again in the Coupe de France against Evian at the Louis-II on Wednesday, before taking on Toulouse in Ligue 1 on Sunday at 14.00.