Football: Monaco retake top spot after thrilling win against Marseille

AS Monaco players celebrate against Olympique de Marseille

AS Monaco bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to Nice and provisionally returned to the top of Ligue 1 thanks to a 3-2 victory over Olympique de Marseille on Saturday.

Monaco headed into the international break top of Ligue 1 but having taken just one point from a possible six in their last two matches, Adi Hütter’s side had slid down the standings.

They came up against a re-enthused Marseille side, who for the first time were guided by the explosive Gennaro Gattuso from the sidelines. The bombastic former AC Milan midfielder took over from Marcelino in midweek and his side were eager to impress.

Les Phocéens began like a freight train, pressing Monaco from the kick-off, winning the ball back and transitioning vertically. Iliman Ndiaye finished off the sweeping move just 36 seconds after kick-off to ensure a “horrific” start to the match, in the words of Hütter.

However, Monaco quickly struck back through Maghnes Akliouche, who got his first of the night after latching onto Wissam Ben Yedder’s knockdown. But Monaco weren’t level for long. Samuel Gigot volleyed home to send the Marseille away section into raptures.

Akliouche gives Hütter a selection headache

However, once again, Monaco showed the strength of character to bounce back. The scorer turned provider, Akliouche laying off Folarin Balogun to level the scores at 2-2, and in doing so making up for his double-penalty miss a week earlier.

Akliouche capped a perfect night by netting Monaco’s third, latching onto Balogun’s knockdown. The duo, in their first match together struck up a good partnership, leaving Hütter with a selection headache.

I’m happy with Akliouche’s 2 goals, and his involvement in the third. It isn’t easy for me as a coach, Eliesse (Ben Seghir) is coming back, whilst Aleksandr Golovin (suspension) and Takumi Minamino (injury) were also both absent. It’s difficult for me. It isn’t always easy to find the right lineup,” said the Monaco manager.

Temporarily top

Monaco held on for the victory with Marseille waning as the match progressed. Les Phocéens are now without a win in Ligue 1 since 26th August, whilst Monaco are back on the charge. They return top, even if only temporarily. Regardless of results elsewhere, they won’t fall out of the top two.

“We’ve given away a lot of points. We deserved this victory. I’m happy that we bounced back and we won against a really good OM side. That makes me very happy this evening,” said Hütter.

Monaco will be looking to back up their success when they travel to face Stade de Reims next weekend.


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