French Cup 22 April 2021, 00:07

AS Monaco are into the Coupe de France semifinals!

AS Monaco are into the Coupe de France semifinals!
At the end of a match that was full of action, the Rouge et Blanc punched their ticket for the semifinals of the Coupe de France, beating Olympique Lyonnais on the road (0-2), ten days before the two sides meet in Ligue 1.

To play this quarterfinal of the Coupe de France against OL, Niko Kovac chose to make five changes to the side that won in Ligue 1 against Bordeaux (0-3). Fodé Ballo-Touré, Axel Disasi and Ruben Aguilar started at the back, while Caio Henrique played on the left wing. Finally, as in the three previous rounds of the Coupe de France, Radoslaw Majecki kept goal for the Monegasques.

A challenging first quarter of an hour

The match got off to a very agressive start, with three yellow cards in the first ten minutes for Kevin Volland (after 12 seconds) as Sinaly Diomandé and Thiago Mendes for Lyon. It was after this first round of physicality that Lyon had the first two opportunities of the match. Melvin Bard came up short in a one-on-one with Radoslaw Majecki, who made a superb save to his right (12′).

It was then Maxwel Cornet who gave himself a chance, which flew over the crossbar (13′). AS Monaco suffered a blow shortly thereafter, losing Sofiane Diop, who injured his ankle following a severe tackle, with Aleksandr Golovin replacing him. It was  a tough first quarter of an hour for the Rouge et Blanc, who also saw Lucas Paqueta have a scoring opportunity on another low, powerful shot, but once again, “Radeck” turned it away for a corner (16′).

One-way traffic

AS Monaco were gradually gaining the upper hand, though, especially on set pieces. But Maxwel Cornet, again, had a powerful strike from the right side of the area, and saw it come off the left post. (31st). A few seconds later, it was Marcelo who hit the same post with a header, on a corner from Memphis Depay (33rd).

It was thus five big chances for the Lyonnais, who were doing well on the counter. Lyon were unrelenting but couldn’t find an opening. There was also a volley from Maxence Caqueret, who hit the crossbar, (35th), the fourth time Lyon hit the woodwork. Despite everything, Niko Kovac’s men were holding on at half-time, despite a last chance on a header by Maxwel Cornet on a good cross from Memphis Depay (41st).

An incredible scenario

After a first period that played out similarly to when the two met in the league, the Monegasques got to grips with the match. Once again, it was a quick turn of events that enlivened the match again. Maxwel Cornet thought he had opened the scoring with a lightning counterattack, before finally being signaled offside (51st). Shortly thereafter though, Fodé Ballo-Touré won a penalty on a high foot by Sinaly Diomandé, who was sent off for a second yellow card (51st).

Wissam Ben Yedder did not hesitate to give AS Monaco the lead (0-1, 53rd). It was an epic encounter, and Fodé Ballo-Touré again seemed to be fouled in the opponent’s area. The tension mounted a notch between the two teams and the cards followed. But the Monegasques kept a cool head and even sealed the result. After a bit of pressing, Wissam Ben Yedder picked out Kevin Volland perfectly on the turn, who hit a powerful shot just under the crossbar of the Lyon goalkeeper (0-2, 62nd).

A well-managed end to the match

Niko Kovac’s men had totally reversed the tenor of the match, which had started badly. Ruben Aguilar even came close to scoring a third goal on the counter on a beautiful bit of play, shooting from the right (74 ‘). OL were nevertheless trying to get back into the match, notably through Houssem Aouar, whose strike was well-captured by Radoslaw Majecki.

No ball would find the Monaco goal at Groupama Stadium, however, despite a final effort by Islam Slimani (92nd), just as had been the case in nine of AS Monaco’s last ten matches in all competitions. The team remain impregnable in 2021, and will be happy to have had a bit of success despite everything to record another clean sheet. Regardless, the Rouge et Blanc qualifed for the semifinals of the competition, good news ten days before returning to face OL in Ligue 1 in one of the last four “finals” to secure a place in the Champions League.

Match details:

Coupe de France – Quarterfinals

Olympique Lyonnais 0-2 AS Monaco

Halftime: 0-0

Goals: Ben Yedder (53′ pen), Volland (62′ ) for AS Monaco

Bookings: Diomandé (6′, 51′), Thiago Mendes (9′), Paqueta (49′), De Sciglio (58′) and Depay (68′) for Lyon ; Volland (1′), Ballo-Touré (58′) and Kovac (59′) for AS Monaco

Dismissals: Rudi Garcia (23′) and Diomandé (51′)

Lyon: Pollersbeck – Dubois (Ozkacar, 80′), Diomandé, Marcelo, De Sciglio, Bard – Thiago Mendes (Bruno Guimaraes, 76′), Caqueret – Depay © (Toko Ekambi, 69′), Paqueta (Aouar, 69′), Cornet (Slimani, 69′)

Substitutes: Lopes, Ozkacar, Gusto, Aouar, Bruno Guimaraes, Soumaré, Toko Ekambi, Cherki, Slimani

Entraîneur: Rudi Garcia

AS Monaco: Majecki – Aguilar, Disasi, Badiashile, Ballo-Touré (Sidibé, 64′) – Diop (Golovin, 15′), Fofana, Tchouameni, Caio Henrique – Volland (Gelson Martins, 82′), Ben Yedder © (Geubbels, 82′)

Substitutes: Mannone, Maripan, Sidibé, Gelson Martins, Golovin, Florentino Luis, Geubbels, Jovetic

Manager: Niko Kovac

Rise. Risk. Repeat.