AS Monaco were dethroned at the top of Ligue 1 as local rivals OGC Nice netted an injury-time winner (1-0) after Folarin Balogun had missed two penalties.
There was more than local pride on the line at the Stade Louis II on Friday night. Monaco went into the game top, but victory for Nice would have been enough for them to replace their rivals at the summit.
Buoyed by a strong away following, Francesco Farioli’s side started on the front foot, pressing well and winning the ball high. However, they couldn’t convert their dominance into goals, with former Monégasque Sofiane Diop particularly wasteful in front of goal.
Bulka 2-0 Balogun
The first major chance would come Monaco’s way. Aleksandr Golovin latched onto Caio Henrique’s ball over the top, rounded Marcin Bulka and was brought down by Jordan Lotomba. Balogun, who scored his first goal for the Principality club against Lorient last week stepped up but was denied by Marcin Bulka from the spot.
The former Arsenal striker was given a second chance early in the second half. This time it was Takumi Minamino who was brought down, but once again Bulka was equal to Balogun’s effort from the spot. The USMNT striker has now missed three penalties against Nice in just two games.
“He was unlucky today but we win together and we lose together. We have to help him a lot because he is frustrated too […] in the future, he will help us a lot,” reacted Adi Hütter post-match.
The first defeat of the Hütter era
Those misses were then punished in injury time. An improving Nice side, who beat PSG last weekend, were always in the mix and took all three points in the dying moments. Jeremie Boga’s mazy run was not stopped and having made his way into the box, he then blasted past Philipp Köhn.
Boga’s goal clinched it. Nice’s 1-0 win temporarily took them top of Ligue 1 and above Monaco, who suffered their first defeat of the season and of the Hütter era. “We’re frustrated in the end because we should have got the draw. Nice started the game well but we’re frustrated to have missed these two penalties. We should have earned a draw and kept a clean sheet,” said Hütter.
Monaco have the chance to bounce back next week against another Mediterranean rival, Marseille. The Phocéen club are in turmoil and currently managerless, perhaps not the worst time to face a side that were expected to rival PSG for the title.
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Photo source: AS Monaco