Monaco 2 -3 Lyon | Ligue 1 | 02.05.21

Monaco 2 -3 Lyon | Ligue 1 | 02.05.21

On a thrilling night in Monaco, Lyon produced a fine performance to stun an in-form Monaco and end title hopes. After wins for PSG and Lille yesterday, Monaco came into this top of the table clash knowing only a victory would see them keep pace with the top two. Lyon, chasing champions league qualification, started the better, dominating the ball in the early proceedings. They enjoyed long spells of possession then quickly harried their opponents when they lost the ball. In the early going, Depay, his earlier pass deflected back into his path, produced a clever chip to find full back, Leo Dubois, whose wild volley missed the target. Predictably, Kovacs' title chasers, Monaco, grew more influential. In the 11th minute, Kevin Volland, released by a Fabregas pass, took on the right centre back Denayer to make enough space to produce a left-foot strike. Well wide of Lopes's goal.
Later, Ben Yedder weaved through a couple of Lyon defenders before his shot was blocked just inside the area. Lyon continued to have brief forays where they looked loose, more relaxed. Toko Ekambi had a strike well saved by Lecomte after a gorgeous Depay dummy. Ruddy Garcia, watching from the stands to serve his suspension, was unimpressed with what was to come. Kevin Volland punished a lapse in concentration by Denayer in the 25th minute. Denayer failed to track Volland's run after he played a one-two with Ben Yedder. Managing to stay onside, thanks to Cornet's deep position on the far side, Volland travelled under pressure before calmly slotting home underneath Lopes for the opener.

Denayer, dropped last week, was replaced shortly after his mistake. Injury, likely the ultimate cause for his early substitution, raised questions of his inclusion from the start. 20-year-old Diomande came on to replace him. Lyon thought they had a route back just after the half-hour; a challenge that looked a foul on Ekambi pulled back for offside before the referee, Turpin, had to make a decision.
Monaco, improving still, cut Lyon open in the 37th minute and should have doubled their advantage. Henrique, starting the move with a piercing run infield and direct, played a through ball to Volland running in behind. On the edge of the Lyon box, Volland chose to try and find his strike partner instead of shooting; Marcelo blocked for a corner. Volland had another chance before halves end when Ben Yedder scooped a beautiful pass into his path. With his view slightly obscured by Marcelo retreating, Volland blazed his volley over the bar. Lopes stood angered by the porosity of his defence. On the other hand, Lecomte's defence was unbreached in nearly 800 Ligue 1 minutes by the half time break; their fortunes would drastically change by the game's conclusion.

'The tie shifted just before the hour after an exciting passage of play. First, Monaco was able to counter-attack from a Lyon corner. Sidibe, disappointing on loan with Everton, crossed into an overloaded Lyon penalty area. Last-ditch defending, then Lopes bravely smothering the incoming Ben Yedder kept Lyon in the game. The Lyon keeper, keen to start a counter of his own, found Depay. He nonchalantly strode forward before sparking into life. Depay weaved through three Monaco players before unleashing a fierce strike. His deflected shot evaded Lecomte in the Monaco goal.

Lyon, much improved in the second half, had two good chances to take the lead quickly. Depay was at the centre of everything. After the hour, his shimmy opened enough space for a sharp strike, a pass likely the better option. Not a minute later, his brilliant, incisive pass found Cornet advancing from his wing-back role. A heavy touch denied him an opportunity to strike cleanly. Monaco recovered to clear.

This exhilarating topsy turvy encountered had another twist. The young and talented midfielder, Caqueret, late in a tackle on Tchouameni, was shown a second yellow to match the one he received in the first half for a similar offence. Down to ten, Lyon remained the superior side. The equally elegant Houssem Aouar joined the action following Caqueret's dismissal and won a free-kick shortly after his introduction. Memphis Depay's lofted delivery was headed into the Monaco net by Marcelo – a driving header to match his joyous celebration.

Monaco pushed for parity and found a route back in. Former Man Utd defender, Di Scigillio, produced an acrobat goal-saving clearance he thought had maintained his sides lead. However, in what looked to be the games defining moment, Lopes punched substitute Pelligrini in the build-up for a Monaco penalty; VAR penalised his rash decision to clear on the edge of his area. With their Ligue 1 title hopes on the line, Ben Yedder incredibly chipped home to the equaliser and set up a thrilling final 5 minutes. Monaco had a chance to win it when Lopes redeemed himself 2 minutes later, producing a brilliant save to deny Aquilar. Lyon, chasing champions league football, down to 10 men, took theirs! In the 90th minute 17-year-old, Rayan Cherki, started a move that found its way to Bruno Guimaraes on the right. He cleverly played it back to Cherki, who was advancing and the teenager showed maturity well beyond his years, calmly stroking the ball past Lecomte on the corner.

Monaco was unable to respond in the five minutes of additional time. Ugly scuffles after the final whistle showed their unmistakable anger at being out of the title race. Four red cards, two for each team, came after the end. For Lyon, this big win keeps their champions league qualification hopes alive.