AS Monaco vs. Zenit St. Petersburg: Final score 2-0, Monaco advances to the knockout round
Monaco matched their goal output from the first five group stage matches and defeated Zenit to advance.
AS Monaco moved on to the knockout rounds with a 2-0 win at home over Zenit St. Petersburg. After a lackluster first half, Monaco’s offense awoke as Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco and Fabinho scored to give the Ligue 1 side the victory.
Considering that Monaco had scored just two goals in the group stages while conceding just one, offensive fireworks were not something to expect from the match. Add in the fact that the home side just needed a draw to advance and all signs pointed to a drab affair unless Zenit could pressure Monaco and unlock their defense.
The first half featured 45 minutes of physical, defensive play in which neither side did anything of note on the attack. To be completely honest it was incredibly boring. The best offensive moment on the first half came from Monaco defender Wallace who was able to get some space after cutting inside with the ball, but his shot rolled wide of the goal.
Monaco’s offense came alive a bit early in the first half with Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco coming close to give his side the lead. Jeremy Toulalan did the heavy work before sending a well placed cross to Ferriera-Carrasco whose side footed shot was deflected over the bar.
The increased pressure paid off for Monaco in the 63rd minute when Aymen Abdennour ran right in behind three Zenit defenders on a free kick and headed Ferriera-Carrasco’s right past Yuri Lodygin. The marking by the Russian club was just horrible on the play and no doubt Andre Villas-Boas will be left to wonder how so many of his palyers failed to picked up Abdennour’s run.
Fabinho sealed the victory for Monaco in the 89th minute, but more importantly it ensured that Monaco would be moving on the knockout round of the Champions League.
Monaco: Subasic, Raggi, Abdennour, Wallace, Fabinho, Ferreira (Ocampos 93′), Moutinho, Toulalan, Bakayoko, Dirar (Silva 90′), Berbatov (Martial 56′)
Goals: Abdennour (63′), Fabinho (89′)
Zenit: Lodygin, Criscito, Lombaerts, Garay, Smoknikov, Witsel, Garcia, Faizulin (Shatov 69′), Hulk, Rondon