Having gained the primary leg of their encounter within the Europa League knockout stage play-offs on the BayArena by 2-3, AS Monaco welcomed Bayer Leverkusen for the rematch on the Stade Louis II on Thursday as massive favourites to undergo. Nonetheless, the guests raised their recreation to a brand new degree and deservedly gained not solely the sport, by the entire tie.
The 90 minutes led to a 2-3 victory for the German membership, with Florian Wirtz scoring first for Leverkusen within the thirteenth minute, Wissam Ben Yedder equalizing from the spot six minutes later, Exequiel Palacios restoring Leverkusen’s lead one other two minutes later, Amine Adli extending it within the 58th, and Breel Embolo setting the ultimate rating within the 84th.
With no targets within the additional half-hour, the competition went right into a penalty shootout, and the shot of Monaco midfielder Eliot Matazo which hit the crossbar proved decisive for Leverkusen to undergo as all 5 of their takers scored.
Monaco not solely gained the primary leg in Germany; they dominated the competition completely, and on condition that that they had gained 5 matches on the trot made it very cheap to anticipate them to undergo with out an excessive amount of problem. The poor latest type of Leverkusen and their mid-table place within the Bundesliga solely added to that feeling.
Monaco had been organized of their ordinary 4-4-2 setup, with younger Salim Ben Seghir taking part in closest to striker Ben Yedder upfront, whereas Aleksandr Golovin and Krepin Diatta flanked Youssouf Fofana and Mohamed Camara in midfied. On the again, Malang Sarr and Axel Disasi shaped the centre-back partnership, with Caio Henrique on the left and Chrislain Matsima on the appropriate. Bayern Munich loanee Alexander Nubel was in aim.
In the meantime, Xabi Alonso deployed his males in a 4-3-3, with Lukas Hradecky in aim, Jeremie Frimpong and Piero Hincapie flanking Jonathan Tah and Edmond Tapsoba within the again line, Robert Andrich anchoring the midfield, Mitchel Bakker and Palacios taking part in between the packing containers, and Wirtz and Adli tasked with supporting striker Adam Hlozek upfront.
Alonso’s males actually rose to the event. They clearly went to Monaco believing they may win, and attacked from the beginning, by no means letting the house aspect breathe correctly. For the entire of 120 minutes, Leverkusen loved 51% of the ball and took a complete of 17 pictures, (Monaco had 12), and on condition that Monaco largely dominated the additional time, the distinction in favour of the guests was far larger for the preliminary 90.
Philippe Clement’s staff clearly didn’t anticipate Leverkusen to place in such a efficiency, and so they paid the value as their confidence turned to complacency.
The Frimpong position
A look on the lineup Alonso despatched out ought to have warned Clement that although showing as a 4-3-3, it had the pliability to alter to a number of completely different setups if wanted. Most clearly, Hincapie is primarily a centre-back, not a left-back, and Bakker is a left-back, not a midfielder. This enabled Leverkusen to shift to a 3-5-2 seamlessly, and with Frimpong thus free to push ahead figuring out his again was lined, his tempo brought about all types of issues for Monaco all through the match.
Henrique was the person whose job was made extraordinarily troublesome on this means, however he actually didn’t cowl himself in glory within the buildup to the primary aim when Adli launched Frimpong on the appropriate wing. The 22-year-old simply slipped the ball previous the Monaco left-back to the sting of six yards, the place Wirtz ended the ensuing scramble with a easy tap-in. To be truthful, Disasi or Nubel would’ve in all probability managed to clear the field had they not gotten in one another’s means.
Golovin, taking part in as a left-sided midfielder, in all probability ought to’ve taken his defensive duties extra critically and helped Henrique out, however the Brazilian was left to cope with Frimpong’s tempo and trickery on his personal far too typically.
Questionable defending all-round
Ben Yedder’s equalizer from the penalty spot got here after Tapsoba, who performed relatively poorly in each video games towards Monaco, clipped Ben Seghir on the foot contained in the field. Although a number of Leverkusen gamers protested fiercely, there could possibly be little doubt about referee Alejandro Hernandez getting the choice proper and it took only some seconds for the VAR to verify it. Ben Seghir obtained the ball and was allowed to show goalwards far too simply, and Tapsoba’s problem was very late.
Solely two minutes later, Leverkusen had a nook and it was past perception to see Hlozek obtain the ball on the far put up in a lot house. Realizing their mistake too late, the Monaco defence charged on the Slovakian striker who merely laid it off for the incoming Palacios, who turned previous Golovin and slammed residence from the sting of the field. Sarr was as a lot accountable as Golovin, fully misjudging the flight of the ball earlier than it fell at Hlozek’s ft.
Monaco had simply defended a Leverkusen assault nicely and Ben Seghir was about to take the ball up the pitch, when he carelessly misplaced it nonetheless inside his personal half. The guests regrouped offensively, and finally Wirtz whipped a positive cross for in incoming Adli, fully unchallenged within the air, and the Leverkusen midfielder produced an outstanding lobbing header previous Nubel for his staff’s third aim.
And talking of unchallenged headers, Embolo additionally scored his aim from such a scenario, having been focused by a properly weighed cross from the appropriate flank by Diatta.
It’s clearly too late for Monaco, but when Leverkusen wish to transfer any additional than the following spherical, the place they face Hungarian aspect Ferencvaros, they must defend higher than this.