Football: Local rivals Nice dethrone Monaco thanks to late winner

AS Monaco v OGC Nice - Caio Henrique and Morgan Sanson

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

Formula 1: Max Verstappen returns to winning ways, Charles Leclerc fourth

Charles Leclerc at the Japanese Grand Prix

Max Verstappen returned to winning ways in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, as Red Bull wrapped up the Constructors’ title; Charles Leclerc finished fourth. 

One down, one to go. Red Bull secured back-to-back Constructors’ Championships in Japan on Sunday, and in all likelihood, Verstappen will secure a third-consecutive Drivers’ Championship in Qatar in a fortnight’s time.

Verstappen’s record-breaking 10-race winning streak was broken last weekend in Singapore, however, having taken pole on Saturday, he was untroubled on Sunday. Lando Norris, from third of the grid, challenged the reigning world champion at lights out, but Verstappen held the inside line through turn one and two.

Charles Leclerc @ Suzuka: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office.

Unlike in Singapore, it was a largely uneventful race. The top three from lap one remained unchanged with Norris beating teammate Oscar Piastri to second place, but the latter eased to his first podium in Formula 1.

Leclerc had a lonely race and didn’t experience much wheel-to-wheel action, although a timely and impressive overtake on George Russell, who tried and failed to pull off a one-stop race, allowed him to comfortably secure fourth place. The British driver was also overtaken by teammate Lewis Hamilton (5th) and last week’s race-winner Carlos Sainz (6th) on his way to a 7th place finish.

“4th was the best result we could have achieved” – Leclerc

Having won in Singapore, Ferrari came back down to Earth in Suzuka. The Italian constructor’s upgrades worked well at the Marina Bay Circuit, however, they found themselves behind McLaren in Japan. “P4 was the best result we could have achieved. For a moment, I asked myself if we could pass the McLarens, but in the end, Lando and Oscar pushed an built the gap,” evaluated Leclerc post-race.

However, there was no getting near the Red Bull this weekend, and despite Sergio Perez’s retirement, the team’s first of the season, they wrapped up back-to-back titles. There will likely be further celebrations in Qatar in early October, perhaps even as early as Saturday’s sprint race, with Verstappen only needing to avoid being outscored by his teammate by more than six points.


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Photo source: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office