History 20 April 2021, 17:08

When AS Monaco beat Chelsea at the Stade Louis-II

When AS Monaco beat Chelsea at the Stade Louis-II
17 years ago to the day at the Stade Louis-II, the Rouge et Blanc won their Champions League semifinal first leg against Chelsea. Their 3-1 victory looked promisingly for a place in the final. Join us as we take a look back at what is a legendary match in the club’s European history.

It was 17 years ago — how time flies. It’s been 17 years since AS Monaco wrote one of the most beautiful chapters in its history, with their incredible European run in the Champions League, which would notably see the Rouge et Blanc eliminate Real Madrid, beating the Galacticos in the quarterfinals,  following an iconic second leg (3-1). After this achievement, it was time to face Claudio Ranieri’s Chelsea, another big opponent with a squad including Marcel Desailly, Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele, Hernan Crespo and the former Monegasque Eidur Guðjohnsen.

A lively start to the match

In a sold-out Louis-II Stadium, with a boiling atmosphere, Didier Deschamps started his first choice team with the offensive quartet of Jérôme Rothen, Ludovic Giuly, Fernando Morientes and Dado Pršo. The start of the match was very lively and the Croatian striker wasted no time in opening the scoring.

On a free kick from the left, delivered by Jérôme Rothen, the ball reached the Monegasque number 9 who fired a header into the top corner of Marco Ambrosio’s goal (17′). There was time to savor the lead, however, as five minutes later, Hernan Crespo beat Flavio Roma to allow his team to equalize (22′).


Zikos reacts, and AS Monaco are reduced to 10

Back from the locker room, the Rouge et Blanc put significant pressure on the opposing goalkeeper and created two huge chances, first through Dado Pršo from a corner and then by Fernando Morientes, who had a bicycle kick cleared off the line by Marcel Desailly. But in the 52nd minute, a frustrated Andreas Zikos slapped Claude Makelele.

The latter collapsed to the ground and Urs Meier, the referee, decided to give a red card to the Greek midfielder; AS Monaco thus found themselves outnumbered, and it looked as if the end of the match would be very complicated. This was, however, without counting on the Monegasques’ desire, something that had given this team motivation throughout the season.


Five incredible minutes

After having resisted the London side’s half-hearted attacks, Didier Deschamps’s men got on the front foot. On a long ball by Ludovic Giuly in behind the defense, the Spanish center forward hit an unstoppable volley past the Blues’ goalkeeper (2-1, 78′). “And now we have to hold on!” said commentator Thierry Rolland, alongside Jean-Michel Larqué.

But the Monegasques would do more than just hold on, as five minutes later, on another pass from Jérôme Rothen, it was Shabani Nonda who scored, with a sublime chip, the third Monegasque goal (3-1, 83rd). Having just recovered from a cruciate injury, the Monegasque striker scored the decisive goal on the break with his first touch of the game,  a fine conclusion to what was a beautiful story on the evening, and the fans could rejoice.

AS Monaco won the first leg 3-1 and looked set to reach the final. They would then have to manage the return leg, scheduled for Stamford Bridge a week later…



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Match details:

Champions League 2003-2004 – Semifinal first leg

AS Monaco 3-1 Chelsea
Halftime: 1-1

Goals: Pršo (17′), Morientes (78′) and Nonda (83′) for AS Monaco; Crespo (22′) for Chelsea
Bookings: Ibarra (44′) for AS Monaco; Melchiot (16′), Makelele (53′) and Terry (72′) for Chelsea
Dismissals: Zikos (53′)

AS Monaco: Roma – Ibarra, Givet, Rodriguez, Evra – Bernardi, Zikos, Giuly (Nonda, 82′), Rothen (Plasil, 89′) – Morientes, Pršo (Cissé, 57′)
Manager: Didier Deschamps

Chelsea: Ambrosio – Melchiot (Hasselbaink, 62′), Desailly, Terry, Bridge – Makelele, Parker (Huth, 68′),  Lampard – Gudjohnsen, Gronkjaer (Veron, 46′), Crespo
Manager: Claudio Ranieri