After its defeat against Lyon in a crazy match last Sunday (2-3), Monaco returned to a little more pragmatism and control this Sunday to win in Reims (1-0). This success allows ASM to return to the podium with one point more than OL, which had put the pressure by beating Lorient on Saturday (4-1). Niko Kovac’s players will be able to calmly tackle a crucial week, with a semi-final of the Coupe de France against Rumilly-Vallières on Thursday (9.15 p.m.) then a shock against Rennes on Sunday (9 p.m.).
Monaco was quick to reveal their intentions at the Auguste-Delaune stadium, with intense pressing and very direct and axial play. As often lately, it is captain Wissam Ben Yedder who unblocked the meeting. The French international played a superb fixing role on a two-player counterattack with Eliot Matazo against four defenders from Champagne. Served by the young Belgian to the right of the area, he found it with a superb pass between the legs of Yunis Abdelhamid (20th) for the opener.
Reims, however, stepped up its pressing after half an hour of play. Benjamin Lecomte was vigilant in front of Boulaye Dia (28th) then on a strike from Mathieu Cafaro (58th), while a penalty awarded to Kevin Volland for a non-existent foul by Wout Faes was rightly canceled by the VAR before the break. ASM, divided between the idea of going and scoring a second goal and that of especially not exposing yourself to concede the equalizer, managed to manage its weak times, with a still enormous Tchouaméni (12 balls recovered). Predrag Rajkovic prevented Gelson Martins from making the break with a nice relaxation (76th), and Thomas Foket made a saving comeback in front of the Portuguese not the continuation (79th). Youssouf Fofana missed the frame (90th 1).
Excellent early April against Metz (4-0), where he delivered his first pro assist with a marvel of the ball slipped to Kevin Volland, Eliot Matazo had been slowed down in his tracks by the Covid-19 then. But Niko Kovac, who knows the full potential of the Belgian diamond, gave him his chance this Sunday by offering him a rather unexpected start. A choice that paid off as the 19-year-old Belgian nugget caused problems for the Reims defense, with its speed and power. Reims had great difficulty in framing it, with its hybrid positioning, sometimes in the middle, sometimes on the left wing.
Matazo, sometimes compared to Youri Tielemans, scored his first goal in L1 after a good full-axis percussion, and a shift towards Ben Yedder who gave him the ball perfectly (20th). He missed the double in the wake, after being forgotten again on the left wing, but he could not follow from the left after having erased Rajkovic with a right hook (25th). Less prominent in the second half, he was replaced by Gelson Martins (65th).