Talking to BeIN Sports after the game, Andrea Raggi summed up the afternoon perfectly: "The most important thing was the three points, that's all that counts." It wasn't always smooth sailing for AS Monaco today, but the three points take them up to eighth in the table (pending other results).
FABINHO GIVES AS MONACO THE LEAD
With Toulalan, Bakayoko, Moutinho and Dirar missing, Leonardo Jardim sent out a new-look side including Adama Traoré in the n° 10 role, and Pasalic-Fabinho as the deep-lying midfielders. The Red & Whites had the better of the opening exchanges, and after a couple of early chances, first through Traoré's free kick (9 mins) and then Carrillo (11 mins), AS Monaco won a penalty in the 17th minute after Ducourtioux was adjuged to have handled Cavaleiro's cross. Fabinho slotted a perfect spot kick past Maury, who went the right way but couldn't keep out the Brazilian's effort.
The Red & Whites were taking advantage of the space left by Ajaccio in the first half, with Bernardo Silva seeing plenty of the ball down the right as his teammates constantly sought him out. In the 31st minutes, it took a wonderful save from Maury to keep out a powerful drive by Cavaleiro. Four minutes later, Silva was thwarted by the Ajaccio 'keeper, who was having a great afternoon. Towards the end of the first half, there was a vicious clash of heads between Carvalho and Zoua, with the Portuguese defender having to go off for treatment and reappearing in injury time with his head heavily bandaged.
THE TEMPO RISES
The second half got off to a blistering start, with end-to-end action. In the 51st minute, Cavaleiro found Carrillo on the overlap down the left, and the Argentine had only Maury to beat, but the 'keeper came out on top. Two minutes later, Carrillo was again into the action as he collected a deep and low cross from Silva and turned on a sixpence top shoot, but his effort was blocked by a desperate tackle from Martinez. Two minutes later; it was Subasic's goal that came under threat, but Raggi put his body on the line with block a goalbound strike from Pujol.
A NERVOUS END TO THE GAME
After Coentrao came on as a 57th minute substitute for Adama Traoré to make his debut for AS Monaco, the home side looked to up the pressure, and it took several impeccable interventions from Subasic, Carvalho, Raggi and Elderson to avert the danger. While the latter stages of the game were dominated by Ajaccio as they went in search of an equaliser, Pasalic (82 mins) and then Silva (88 mins) both missed excellent chances to put their side further ahead. Valiant right to the death, the Red & Whites held on their lead to secure a precious win, ahead of the opening match of their Europa League campaign at Anderlecht on Thursday.