Spurs looked to harry and hustle the Monegasque defence straight from the kick-off. Badiashile was under pressure but the English side’s attack was cut short by an offside flag (1st minute). AS Monaco were then thwarted by a linesman’s flag themselves after Bongiovanni played Sylla in behind (3 mins). Sylla was in the thick of the action again moments later, getting on the end of a superb cross from Appin but volleying just wide from the middle of the penalty area. Cardona found the target in the 7th minute however. The Monegasque striker collected the ball with his back to goal, spun and arrowed a shot that took a slight deflection to leave Whiteman helpless. The Red & Whites were up and running. Their English opponents were rattled, but looked to hit back through a free-kick on the quarter-hour mark. Edwards bent his effort round the wall perfectly but the ball skimmed Badiashile’s crossbar.
Cardona at the double
The Monegasques were gradually losing their grip on the game and Shashoua’s 24th minute equaliser had been coming. Cardona sounded the charge for the visitors yet again, but his slaloming run in the box went unrewarded (27 mins). Serrano had similar luck, seeing his shot blocked just before the half-hour, before Bongiovanni linked up with Sylla from a corner routine and tried a curling shot from the left of the box, only for Whiteman to make the save (35 mins). The Red & Whites kept up the pressure and got their reward just before the break when Sylla pulled the ball back to Cardona in the Spurs penalty area, the striker calmly side-footing home to put AS Monaco back in front!
— AS MONACO 🇮🇩 (@AS_Monaco) 14 September 2016
… And a hat-trick!
Griffiths registered the first effort of the second half, a powerful cross shot that shaved Badiashile’s left-hand post. As Spurs went in search of a leveller, the Monegasques looked to play on the break and exploit the wings. Bongiovanni had a dip from 25 yards out in the 54th minute, but put his effort well wide. Moments later, Ngakoutou got free down the right and delivered a cross into the area where Sylla attempted an acrobatic volley that was blocked (57 mins). Sylla was posing problems in the opposition box again in the 64th minute as Whiteman pushed away his shot, but Cardona followed up and slotted home his third of the afternoon to put AS Monaco on course for the win… The players had barely had time to catch their breath when Cardona yet again got free in the Spurs half, but this time Whiteman came out on top (65 mins). Sylla and Cardona were at the heart of everything good AS Monaco were doing, the latter releasing Serrano down the left. The left-back cut back inside and unleashed a shot that flew inches wide of Whiteman’s top left corner (68 mins).
Badiashile to the rescue
The Cardona show continued in the 71st minute, as he raced past the defence and was tripped in the area, but just managed to find Bongiovanni, who slammed the ball narrowly wide! The irrepressible Cardona was at it yet again shortly afterwards, attempting an improbable looking volley from Appin’s long throw-in (75 mins). From just outside the area, the technique was perfect but the ball just over the bar! Despite the Monegasque dominance, Tottenham refused to throw in the towel. The English side even clawed their way back to within a goal of their opponents with a 77th minute penalty from Harrison. The Spurs skipper then nearly equalised in the 83rd minute, but was denied by the excellent Badiashile. In added time, Diallo went on a solo run and passed the ball across goal to the waiting Sylla, who was just unable to get enough on it. Sylla then broke free on the right and saw a shot deflected for a corner just before the final whistle. No matter, the job had been done and AS Monaco had secured a fine victory to start the competition. They will be looking to build on that success against Bayer in a fortnight’s time.