Football: Wasteful Monaco slip to late draw at Troyes

AS Monaco conceded an injury-time equaliser against Troyes on Sunday after having fought their way back into the game in the dying stages thanks to a Wissam Ben Yedder brace.

Les Monégasques were looking to bounce back after consecutive defeats, firstly to Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League, and then against local rivals OGC Nice at the Stade Louis II last weekend.

“We lacked a finishing touch”

Philippe Clement’s side will be made to rue missed chances against relegation strugglers Troyes. Monaco arguably should have put the game to bed in the first half with good chances falling to Aleksandr Golovin and Ben Yedder, however, they ultimately went back to the dressing rooms with a deficit.

Romy Kouamé scored for Troyes in one of the very few rare ventures into the Monaco half, leaving the Principality club in need of at least two goals to take the three points away from the Stade de l’Aube.

Monaco could have been two behind if not for a crucial intervention from Axel Disasi, who saved Abdu Conté’s effort off the line. Clement’s side made use of their second life. With the minutes ticking away, Ben Yedder, culpable of missing a few chances earlier on, netted a quickfire double to put Monaco on the brink of victory.

However, in injury time, Iké Ugbo, rose highest to head past Alexander Nübel to draw the scores level at 2-2. Both sides ultimately take just a point away from a fixture that could have gone either way.

Monaco maintain podium place

“It’s frustrating because if we had been more lucid in the final action, by playing like we did in the second half throughout the match, the result would have been completely different. We need to concentrate over the course of the 90 minutes, not just for a period of the match. We had more chances, but we lacked a finishing touch, ” said Clement post-match.

Despite Monaco’s failure to beat the relegation-struggling Troyes, Monaco remain on the podium as RC Lens drew against Lille OSC in the Derby du Nord on Saturday. Monaco next face Reims at the Stade Louis II next Sunday.


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Photo by AS Monaco

Formula 1: Max Verstappen victorious in Bahrain as Charles Leclerc retires

Max Verstappen was in a league of his own as he strode to victory in the Formula One curtain-raiser in Bahrain on Sunday, whilst Charles Leclerc retired with a technical issue.

Suspicions of Red Bull supremacy were confirmed at the Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir, however, there is room for hope for Ferrari, who showed pace and nous over the course of a promising weekend, which ultimately with just a smattering of points.

Verstappen unrivalled

Verstappen’s victory never looked in doubt. Despite a lightning start from Leclerc, which allowed the Monégasque to get the jump on Sergio Perez at the first corner, Verstappen’s lead wasn’t challenged.

It was clear that only a bad pitstop or a technical failure would deny the reigning World Champion, and it never came. Behind him, there was little movement with a midrace battle between former world champions Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton providing a brief moment of entertainment in a largely processional race.

Charles Leclerc: “Red Bull were on another planet.”

Despite all of the talk of Aston Martin’s competitivity, it was clear that Ferrari looked closest to Red Bull for a large period of the race. Leclerc competed with Perez before differing strategies saw the Mexican driver take second place off the Monégasque. 

Leclerc was still in contention for the second step of the podium before a loss of power on lap 41 prematurely ended a promising race. The 2022 Bahrain GP winner wouldn’t finish this year’s edition, and Ferrari would ultimately miss out on a podium altogether, despite evidencing some promising race pace.

Having got the best of Hamilton in a lively battle, Alonso then overtook compatriot Carlos Sainz in the closing stages to reach the podium. Ferrari’s Spaniard struggled with bouncing but would beat the charging Hamilton to the chequered flag, taking 12 hard-earned points away from the Gulf state.

The grid heads to Saudi Arabia

Despite positive signs, there was nonetheless disappointment for Leclerc. “[The retirement] was a shame. We were having a good race until that point and we have to maximise our points in such races. Red Bull were on another planet in the race and third would have been our best possible result; they were really too quick for us this weekend,” said the Monégasque driver.

The season is yet long, and Leclerc will be hoping to score his first points of the season at the next race in Saudi Arabia on 19th March.


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Photo from Scuderia Ferrari press centre

Our Ocean: EU pledges over €800 million to ocean protection

our ocean eu

The EU has committed to funding ocean protection actions to the tune of €816.5 million at the Our Ocean Conference in Panama held this week, one of the biggest amounts the bloc has ever pledged to the cause.  

The 2023 Our Ocean Conference was held in Panama on 2nd and 3rd March to much ado. Organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC/UNESCO) and chaired by climatologist and oceanographer Vladimir Ryabinin, the event drew attention for speaking out on relevant themes and solid action-taking stances by participants.  

One such participant was the EU, who pledged a massive €816.5 million sum to 39 action plans for the year 2023. The funding will go to initiatives and activities involving marine protected areas, marine pollution, climate change, sustainable fishing, blue economy projects and maritime security.  

Broken down, it means that €320 million has been earmarked for research into protecting marine biodiversity and the impacts of climate change on the seas. These funds will help develop the Digital Twin of the Ocean, which uses historical data to predict future events, and implement the All-Atlantic Ocean Research and Innovation Alliance. It will also support the objectives of the EU Mission ‘Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030′, which has set targets that include the cleaning-up of marine and fresh waters, restoring degraded ecosystems and habitats, and decarbonising the blue economy.  

Another €250 million will be dedicated to the satellite launch of Sentinel-1C, an instrumental asset offering real-time observations of the icebergs and melts of the Arctic region.  

A further €126 million will be sent to fight climate change in Benin, Guyana and Tanzania. Regional fishery management organisations (RFMOs) will benefit from €24 million, and the remaining €1 million will go to World Trade Organisation fishing subsidies projects to support developing nations.  

Progress on the EU’s plans resulting from the conference can be tracked on a commitment tracking tool found here.


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Photo source: Annie Spratt for Unsplash