Europa League 09 December 2021, 22:32

AS Monaco draw in Graz to finish unbeaten!

AS Monaco draw in Graz to finish unbeaten!
Already assured of finishing to of group B and of playing in the round of 16 of the Europa League, the Rouge et Blanc brought back a draw from Graz, after a wild game on a very cold Austrian evening (1-1).

AS Monaco did not have much to play for on this sixth day of the Europa League, but did the job to the end by earning a draw in Austria (1-1). To start this last match in Group B, Niko Kovac decided to rotate his starting XI by giving some of the team’s youngsters some playing time. The central defence was thus made up of a never-before-seen duo of Matsima and Pavlović, while Eliot Matazo started in midfield, with Wilson Isidor on the right wing.

A story of set pieces

It was a challenging start to the match for the Rouge et Blanc, who conceded a penalty very early on for an involuntary handball by Strahinja Pavlović. The resulting spot kick was turned into the top corner by Austrian striker Jakob Jantscher (1-0, 7′). The pressure was strong from Graz, who were only conceding chances on set pieces, as on a header from Kevin Volland on a corner delivered by Aleksandr Golovin, which crashed off the crossbar (9′).

AS Monaco let the storm pass and gained momentum over the course of the opening period. And was again on new corner kick from the “Tsar”, that Kevin Volland deservedly equalized with his right foot (1-1, 30′). It marked a second goal for the German in the Europa League, having been already involved in 9 goals in Ligue 1 (4 goals, 5 assists). Halftime came just after a final opportunity from Wilson Isidor, whose effort unfortunately lacked the pace to but the Monegasques ahead (45 + 2′).

A quick turnover

Upon returning from the locker room, the Monegasque coach made three changes, to rest some of his starters. Ismaïl Jakobs, Jean Lucas and Myron Boadu thus made their appearances on a pitch at the Stadion Liebenau  which was a bitter -1 °, only having recently been cleared of snow. The team’s intentions were better after the interval, with Eliot Matazo testing his luck from range (50′). before a lightning-quick counterattack saw Wilson Isidor come up a bit short as he tried to beat Jörg Siebenhandl (58′).

Then, Myron Boadu ran out of space as he tried his luck, breaking into the box (62′). There was also no success on a huge chance that fell to Wilson Isidor, on a good pass from the Dutch striker, as his shot flew over the Austrians’ goal (66′). Shortly thereafter, the Rouge et Blanc number 9 was denied by the opposing goalkeeper, despite a superb bit of control (72′).

AS Monaco, unbeaten, head toward the Round of 16

Radoslaw Majecki was, for his part, little troubled, except for a set piece (74′). Gelson Martins was then even close to  finding Myron Boadu for a winner following a sublime bit of skill (87′), but unfortunately the striker was flagged off.

The score remained level, and AS Monaco finished this group stage of the Europa League unbeaten (3 wins, 3 draws), for the first time in their  history in Europe. The Round of 16 will take place in March, but now the team’s attention is back to the league, as this Sunday sees a summit against PSG at the Parc des Princes (8:45 p.m).

Match details

Europa League – Matchday 6

Sturm Graz 1-1 AS Monaco

Halftime: 1-1

Goals: Jantscher (7′) for Graz; Volland (30′) for AS Monaco

Bookings: Prass (63′) for Graz; Pavlović (6′), Aguilar (32′) and Golovin (54′) for AS Monaco

Sturm Graz : Siebenhandl – Gazibegovic (Jäger, 81′), Affengruber, Wüthrich, Dante – Sarkaria (Wels, 82′), Ljubic (Stückler, 87′), Stankovic ©, Prass – Niangbo (Huspek, 73′), Jantscher (Yeboah, 46′)

Substitutes: Marić, Schützenauer, Borkovic, Geyrhofer, Huspek, Jäger, Komposch, Lang, Ljubic, Schendl, Stückler, Trummer, Wels, Yeboah

Manager: Christian Ilzer

AS Monaco: Majecki – Aguilar, Matsima, Pavlović, C. Henrique (Jakobs, 46′) – Isidor (Gelson Martins, 80′), Tchouameni (Jean Lucas, 46′), Matazo, Golovin (Diop, 57′) – Volland, Ben Yedder © (Boadu, 46′)

Substitutes: Mannone, Disasi, Jakobs, Okou, Sidibé, Akliouche, Baranik, Diop, Gelson Martins, Jean Lucas, Lemarechal, Boadu

Manager: Niko Kovac

Rise. Risk. Repeat.