Stats 03 May 2021, 21:42

Wissam Ben Yedder, captain to the power of 100

Wissam Ben Yedder, captain to the power of 100
By scoring a superb panenka to make it 2-2 against Lyon on Sunday night at the Stade Louis-II (2-3), the Monegasque captain celebrated his 100th goal in the top flight in style, despite the final result.

There was malice, genius and at the same time a bit of revolt in his finish. With AS Monaco behind 2-1 this Sunday against Olympique Lyonnais, despite playing at home and having a man advantage, Wissam Ben Yedder pulled out all the stops in the 86th minute of play. When Mr. Clément Turpin pointed to the penalty spot, after a moment of consultation with the VAR, following a foul by Anthony Lopes in the area on Pietro Pellegri the Monegasque captain knew what he had to do.

A very classy finish

He then created a vacuum around him, in a Stade Louis-II deprived of the supporters. It was as if the tension that reigned around the pitch, in the last quarter of an hour of a still very lively match against Lyon, had no hold on his mind. Decisive, cold, as though on a mission, he began his run-up and while the Lyon goalkeeper expected the French international (12 caps, 2 goals), to choose his preferred side, the left side the latter decided to mark the occasion in a very unique way.

He took his time with his preparation while concealing, until the last moment, the most daring gesture that a footballer can attempt in such a situation: the panenka, a style used Fabinho before him, in a packed Parc des Princes, or also like the carefree Sofiane Diop facing Guingamp in the Cup. Wissam Ben Yedder decided to take a huge risk, given the stakes, as if he wanted score his 100th Ligue 1 goal and make an indelible mark in the process. A great footballer once said: “After scoring a goal like that, you don’t deserve to lose.”

A historic century

The Rouge et Blanc captain, determined to take the penalty, would certainly have hoped for another end to this crucial match. Unfortunately, and after nine matches without a loss and 866 minutes without conceding, the Monaco defense would give in at the very end of the game. This in no way detracts from the performance of Wiss’, who, with an assist on the opening goal for the other member of “Yedderland”, Kevin Volland, has now been involved in 24 goals this season in Ligue 1 (19 goals, 5 assists).

But more than that, he has made his place in the history of the French league with this latest achievement. By scoring his 100th goal in the top flight, in Fontvieille, his own backyard, he thus became the 10th player to reach this level in the 21st century and the 3rd currently playing in the top flight after Kylian Mbappé (105) and Jimmy Briand (100). In scoring 19 goals in the 2020-2021 season, Niko Kovac’s captain has also had his best ever mark in his career in the five major European leagues.

A goal to make history and a return to the Champions Leaue

His 37th goal in Ligue 1 with AS Monaco was thus added to the 63 he scored with Toulouse between 2012 and 2016. It was thus a muted centenary therefore, from the Riviera side’s virtusoso captain, who had already played the savior during the 100th derby in Nice, or even a week ago in Angers, with an equally sumptuous finish. In the end, though, this failed to be a happy centenary, with the lead over OL now shrunk to one point in the race for the Champions League.

For this next goal, we will have to wait, because the Rouge et Blanc now have three finals ahead of them. But above all, they have a guide, a boss, who will do anything to achieve his dream of playing in the magnificent competition that is the Champions League. And the method, suggested by Niko Kovac, to get there: “Not by talking, but only by working”. For the meantime, then: Bravo, Wissam!

Rise. Risk. Repeat.