The Monegasques kicked off the game at a noisy Stade Vélodrome packed with Marseille supporters roaring on their side from the off. Despite Kondogbia losing the first ball, Carrasco made an instant breakthrough with a darting run down the left. The Belgian found Martial on the edge of the box, but he was tackled by Lemina. The ball was sent back into the middle for Moutinho to run on to and smash a low drive past Mandanda. AS Monaco were in front with barely a minute on the clock! Marseille looked for an immediate response, but the Monegasque defence stood firm, with Abdennour in particular producing a superb intervention to deny Gignac in the 10th minute. OM's French striker was then found by Payet inside the area on 17 minutes, but Subasic was alert to deal with his low effort. Moments later, Raggi got his head to a Moutinho corner but was unable to direct the ball towards goal (18 mins). In the 22nd minute, Martial then found himself clean through with only Mandanda to beat, but was unable to find a way past the Marseille 'keeper with a second goal so close!
Bernardo rattles the post!
The match had started in lively fashion and in the 24th minute Subasic needed a firm hand to keep out a powerful shot from Alessandrini. Two minutes later, Nkoulou went in a little too hard on Moutinho in the OM half. The Marseille defender was shown a yellow card and the Portuguese midfielder stayed down for some lengthy treatment before getting back to his feet to whistles from the home supporters. With half-time approaching, Fabinho danced his way past everyone on the right-hand side of the penalty area and tried his luck from an impossible angle, but Mandanda got behind his shot (39 mins). On 43 minutes, Ayew drove forward in a central position and went for goal from the edge of the box, but failed to trouble Subasic. Monaco responded straight away with a shot from Carrasco that was deflected behind for a corner. Kondogbia got his head to the ensuing set piece, but couldn't find the target. Carrasco was back in action moments later as he popped up in the box and found Martial who was tackled on the penalty spot. Silva followed up but thumped the ball against the post, in a twist of fate that marked the end of the first half.
The defence repels everything…
The second half started more slowly as Marseille looked to put their foot on the ball, but the Monegasque defence held firm. At the other end, every AS Monaco attack sent waves of panic around the Vélodrome as the speed of Martial, Carrasco and Silva gave the Marseille back line all sorts of problems. In the 60th minute, Martial had the first chance of the second period with a shot that skimmed Mandanda's right-hand post. From the following move, Subasic was called into action twice in quick succession, to deal with a cross from Alessandrini and then a long-range effort from Payet (61 mins). It was then Mandanda's turn, as he kept out a Carvalho header from a wide free-kick by Moutinho. On 67 minutes, Silva pulled the ball back for Martial who was just edged out of possession. With no clear-cut openings, Marseille looked to find a way through from free-kicks, but the Monaco defence repelled everything that was thrown at them, with Abdennour looking particularly imperious.
...but cracks in the final fifteen
With the game heading into the final quarter-hour, Thauvin broke through on the left and sent the ball across goal where Batshuayi and Alessandrini somehow got in each other's way as they looked to get on the end of it. Thauvin then found himself with a sight of goal himself, but a brilliant recovery tackle from Abdennour prevented him from pulling the trigger. The Tunisian defender had rescued his side, but injured himself in the process and had to be replaced by Wallace for the final few minutes. From the ensuing corner, OM equalised through Ayew after AS Monaco failed to clear the ball. Carrasco then found himself in a promising position outside the area, but sent his shot just wide of Mandanda's post. The Vélodrome had sprung back to life and roared on Alessandrini as he embarked on a counter-attack in the 86th minute. With Carrasco in pursuit, he was unable to find Thauvin, but redeemed himself moments later by slamming home a side-footed effort from Payet's cut-back (88 mins) to give OM the lead with just two minutes remaining. It was harsh on AS Monaco, who deserved at least a point from the game. Despite the defeat, their first in twelve matches in Ligue 1, the Red & Whites are still two points ahead of OM and St-Etienne. They will need to deliver in their final two fixtures against Metz and Lorient…