Monaco conceded a draw (1-1) against the Dutch PSV Eindhoven, Tuesday August 2, during the third preliminary round of the Champions League. The Monegasques had control for the first half hour of the meeting before being trapped. Victory eludes them, despite the big chances they had late in the game.
In the afternoon, they had learned that in the event of qualification, they would oppose in the play-offs the winner of the duel between Union Saint-Gilloise and the Glasgow Rangers (the Belgians won 2-0 in the evening against to the Scots in the first leg), on August 16-17 and 23-24, with a return to Louis-II, thus preventing the ogre Benfica who crushed Midtjylland (4-1). To access it, the players of the principality now know that they will have to win in the Netherlands, in a week, since the goals scored away from home have no value in the event of a draw.
The choice of offense
For this opening of the season, the Monegasque coach Philippe Clément had chosen the entry offensive. With the Minamino-Volland-Ben Yedder-Golovin quartet at the forefront, but without the side most used during the preparation. The Brazilian offensive Vanderson was preferred to Ruben Aguilar, yet the man who has played the most in the last six weeks. Caio Henrique, affected by the Covid-19, was replaced by a long-struggling Ismail Jakobs on the left side against the liveliness of the Hispano-Moroccan Ismael Saibari.
Moreover, after a deep race from the latter, relayed by Ibrahim Sangaré and Gus Til, the center forward and captain Luuk De Jong perfectly shifted Joey Veerman. The striker succeeded in his shot perfectly without giving any chance to the Monegasque goalkeeper Alexander Nüber (0-1, 39e). First shot on target and first goal for the Dutch who, until then, had quietly mastered the timid Monegasque attempts.
Certainly, there was this strike from Youssouf Fofana deflected, in his area, by the opposing defender Jordan Teze (32e). But after consulting the images on the video, the Italian referee, Mr. Massa, was not granted a sanction. Despite his mobility, Aleksandr Golovin regularly lacked promptness. And his teammates in the attacking squad have been below the level required to access the Champions League.
A pole and regrets
After the break, the Monegasques finally pushed with consistency. In turn, Minamino (49e), Volland (58e) and Ben Yedder (60e) have had possibilities, without being precise enough. And when Vanderson’s center took the opposing defense from behind, no one was at the reception.
It was then that Clément decided to give impetus to a new dynamic. Gelson Martins, Krepin Diatta and especially Swiss rookie Breel Embolo weighed even more on the Dutch rearguard. At the end of the match, goalkeeper Walter Benitez, who had never won in the Principality with Nice, logically bowed to Axel Disasi, author of the equalizer on receiving a free kick from Ismail Jakobs, deflected from the head by Youssouf Fofana (1-1, 80e).
The Monegasques even came close to winning at the very end of the game, but Fofana’s header hit the opposing post (88e). In a week in the Netherlands, these regrets will have to be swept away at the Philips Stadion.
“We remain a little on our hunger, admitted Axel Disasi after the meeting. We had a good game overall. They were realistic on their only occasion (…) Each match has its story and we know that it will be very complicated there. We know this stadium and its atmosphere. The team that is the most focused, makes the fewest mistakes and is the most daring will qualify. You will have to seek luck. »