Football: Monaco stunned by late Jeffinho winner in shock Lyon defeat

AS Monaco v Lyon at the Stade Louis II

AS Monaco succumbed to a shock defeat to bottom-of-the-table Lyon (0-1) on Friday night with Jeffinho netting an unlikely late winner in a tightly-contested fixture.

“It isn’t third against bottom,” said Monaco manager Adi Hütter when he previewed the match on Wednesday, referencing the quality of Lyon, despite their lowly ranking in the Ligue 1 standings. However, the reality was that Lyon head into the match rock-bottom, Monaco, in contrast. are in the battle for the podium.

However, you wouldn’t have been able to tell from the opening exchanges. Lyon, with their well-balanced midfield of Maxence Caqueret and Corentin Tolisso were combative and at times dangerous, breaking the press and exploiting spaces in behind. It was the Principality club, however, who fashioned the better chances. Folarin Balogun’s shot stung the palms of Anthony Lopes and just moments later, he headed over unopposed in the box. The USMNT striker should have done better after some good work from Youssouf Fofana, however, his jump was poorly timed.

Lyon fans in attendance, despite ban

Monaco were knocking at the door before halftime, and they almost broke it down early in the second. Mohamed Camara linked up nicely with Maghnes Akliouche, receiving the ball back from the France U21 international before unleashing a shot that clipped the outside of the post on the way wide.

Hütter’s side looked the most likely to find a late winner, but ultimately, it was Lyon who got it. Monaco were a step behind in their press and they were punished. England international Ainsley Maitland-Niles got to the byline, before cutting back for substitute Jeffinho, who scored with his first touch off the bench.

That goal sent the very few Lyon fans in attendance into raptures. The club were banned from filling the away end after their fans were shown making racist gestures during the ultimately abandoned match against Marseille in October, but a few dozen nonetheless filled the home end and made themselves heard at the final whistle.

“It’s a heavy defeat” – Hütter

With the win, Lyon pull themselves out of the relegation zone for now, whilst Monaco remain in third. They could be caught by Lille, if they beat PSG later this weekend. It is likely, however, that the Principality club will finish the gameweek on the podium. “There is no point in throwing it all away,” reacted Krépin Diatta post-match, seeking to downplay the significance of the defeat.

“It was a really heavy defeat this defeat. We are disappointed,” admitted Hütter, who was hoping to secure a win in Monaco’s last home match of the calendar year.

This season, Monaco harbour hopes of returning to the Champions League, and the club will therefore need to rediscover their start-of-season form in order to keep on track. Next up is another struggling side, Toulouse. A win will be a necessity.

Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality.   

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Tik Tok.