Monaco qualified for the play-offs of the Europa League, thanks to their victory over Red Star of Belgrade (4-1) with a hat-trick from Kevin Volland, Thursday night at the Louis II stadium on the last day of the group . H. Monaco provided the essentials in this first European stage in a rather tough pool, which brought together defending champions Hungary, Serbia and Turkey. But due to a failed match against Trabzon (0-4) and, above all, a defeat at home against Ferencvaros (0-1), Philippe Clement’s men lost first place, although accessible , with a special goal difference in favor of the Hungarians ( 10 points each).
In the play-offs of the competition, the team from the Principality will face a team transferred from the Champions League, whose identity will be known on Monday during the draw. He will move on February 16 to his opponent’s ground, before receiving it on February 23.
ASM owes its qualification to a game controlled almost from start to finish – except for the start of the second half – against the Belgrade club and a Kevin Volland in good form. Author of a hat-trick, the German international finally seemed to shake off his ankle problems. The lack of physicality of his right-backs Vanderson and Ruben Aguilar prompted Clement, who has yet to abandon his current four-man defence, to establish Axel Disasi in the position. Good thing he took it. Monaco were imperial in defense in the first period. As in all field areas elsewhere.
Almost perfect halftime
The Monegasques took a big lead in less than half an hour thanks to two goals from Volland. The German first hit his head following a perfectly curled cross from Caio Henrique, author of a great first period (1-0, 5th). Krepin Diatta then served him up, received another flawless ball from Caio Henrique and was then well assisted by defender Nemanja Milunovic. From the right, Volland quietly rolled into the small net (2-0, 27th).
Had Monaco led 2-0 at the break, the gap could have been greater, as the difference in level to the Serbian champions was stark. But Diatta (9th), Volland (10th and 24th), Ben Yedder (13th) lack realism.
American basketball players from Monaco, Mike James and Jordan Loyd, who also received the Red Star in the Euroleague on Friday, appreciated the lesson of their football counterparts. Especially since, at the moment of the continuation, Milan Rodic took against his camp a cross from Aleksandr Golovin (3-0, 50th).
The Serbs believed in their ability to come back, after a penalty converted by Guelor Kanga following a failed tackle from Benoît Badiashile in his place (3-1, 54th), then a goal from Pesic, finally was disallowed for offside (68th). But the Monegasques prevailed. And in the final counter, Ismail Jakobs served perfectly behind Volland, who quickly made the victory of his night (4-1, 87th) and bowed the match.
Nice operation of Nantes
FC Nantes won on Thursday night on the lawn of Olympiakos (2-0) and will play in the play-offs of the final stage of the Europa League, thanks to its victory combined with the draw received in another group meeting. G by Qarabag against Fribourg (1-1).
With goals from Mohamed and Blas at the end of the match (79th then 90th), the Canaries finished second in group G and next February will play the play-off for the final stage of the Europa League (C3) against a club that has been eliminated from the Champions League. Nantes really needed to win in Greece to continue the adventure in the Europa League, while hoping to produce a better result than Qarabag, who received Freiburg at the same time.
Facing a weak Olympiakos, who had already been eliminated and fielded a much reworked team, the Nantes players came into the game well but Guessand’s goal in the 2nd minute, headed for a deflection at the far post post from a corner, is ruled out for off-side.
Then dominated the first half, long chaotic and technically inaccurate, the Canaries relied on a very good Lafont, author of several decisive saves in front of El Arabi and Bowler. The entry of Ludovic Blas at half-time changed the face of the game, allowing Nantes to play higher and finally dangerous.
It was on one of his crosses that Mohamed opened the scoring with a header from six meters in the 79th minute. The French attacking midfielder then took it upon himself to beat Tzolakis with a subtle lob in the 90th, after a combination between Sissoko and Mohamed, ensured victory for Nantes. Remaining on the grass at the final whistle, the Canaries were able to celebrate with their supporters when they learned of the draw between Qarabag and Fribourg.
Antoine Kombouaré’s players will know their opponent in this type of “Round of 16” of the Europa League during the draw that will be made on Monday in Nyon (Switzerland). Clubs as prestigious as Barcelona, Juventus or Ajax Amsterdam are among the eight teams relegated to C3 at the end of the Champions League group stage.