Germain on the scoresheet!
Despite the sweltering conditions on the Côte d'Azur, neither team appeared to be affected by the heat as they started this first game of the new Ligue 1 season at full throttle. Every derby game has its story. And tonight's was tinged with Red & White, as the opening goal on 7minutes was scored by Valère Germain, who captained AS Monaco not so long ago. The former Monegasque side-footed home following an impeccable set-up from the rampant Plea. Formidably efficient. Subasic, who kept out 76.4% of shots on target last season, barely moved.
45% of duels won...
The home side were a goal to the good as they made a focused and combative start to their league campaign. Perhaps a little too combative at times, as Boscagli collected the first yellow card of the evening (14 mins). Starved of possession and frequently second to the ball (winning 45% of their duels for possession), Raggi and his teammates were under the cosh.
Leonardo Jardim made an early change on 24 minutes, withdrawing Pasalic and sending on Silva. The Red & Whites gradually began to see more of the ball. First Silva, and then Dirar came within a studs-length of equalising (34 mins). Then Pouplin, who until that point had been a reassuring presence in the Nice goal, was forced off to be replaced by Hassen (36 mins). It was the second substitution of the night for the home side, with Claude Puel having already sent on Gomis in place of Bodmer (29 mins). And there were more problems to come for the Nice coach, as Boscagli was sent off for a second, unnecessary foul just before the break (44 mins)...
Numerical and technical superiority
AS Monaco, for whom Dirar had made way for El Shaarawy shortly before half-time, had 45 minutes to turn the derby around…
Straight from the restart, Valère Germain gave Subasic a fright but the Croatian 'keeper stuck out a right boot to avert the danger (47 mins). However, Leonardo Jardim's men were now winning their battles for possession: 62% in the second half, compared with 45% in the first (Opta)!
It was the elusive Bernardo Silva who provided the spark, the Portuguese international seizing on a perfect pass from Martial to level the scores (51 mins). It was no more than AS Monaco deserved. But Leonardo Jardim's men were in the hunt for more. In the stifling heat, Nice were looking to catch their breath, but the visitors gave them no respite!
Layvin Kurzawa bamboozled the Nice defenders down the left, and then played a one-two with the crossbar before putting AS Monaco in front with a double header (61 mins)… The Red & Whites have found the net in each of their last seven games away from home - currently the best such run of any side!
Unbeaten at the Allianz Riviera
AS Monaco were now well in control of proceedings. El Shaarawy displayed all his speed and technique with an acrobatic overhead kick that was fisted away by Hassen, before sending in a curling right-footed effort that just lacked the power to trouble the Nice goalkeeper (65 and 73 mins).
There was just time for one last scare for the visitors, as Germain looked to find Plea with a skilful bicycle kick that fell short of its target … The referee blew for full-time to confirm Monaco's third win on the spin at the Allianz Riviera. Unbeaten.