Two first-half goals from Jonathan David were not enough for LOSC who surrendered their advantage late on in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Monaco, as Round 14 of Ligue 1 Uber Eats got underway at the Stade Louis II.
The eagerly-awaited return of Ligue 1 Uber Eats kicked-off with an intriguing clash between two of last season's top three, with both teams in need of a win to kick start their stuttering campaign's.
LOSC draw first blood
The game sprung into life almost immediately when Monaco defender Strahinja Pavlovic's rash challenge on Xeka gave the reigning champions the opportunity to open the scoring from the penalty spot. In-form striker Jonathan David stepped up to coolly slot home his ninth league goal of the season (5').
David, who only returned to LOSC on Thursday after international duty with Canada just 48 hours earlier, displayed signs of a player hungry to add to his tally and he extended his side's advantage with a smart finish, following a defence-splitting pass from Tiago Djalo (9').
The hosts were visibly shell shocked by David's quickfire double and Jonathan Ikone should have put LOSC further ahead but his effort was parried by Monaco 'keeper Alexander Nubel (13').
Monaco coach Niko Kovac this week spoke of the need to force their opponents into errors, but to the dismay of the Croatian technician, the opposite was unfolding before his eyes.
Monaco were struggling to match LOSC's organisation as Jocelyn Gourvennec's men exploited the acres of space the principality side were gifting them, whilst offering a three-pronged threat on the counter with the pace of David, Ikone and Timothy Weah.
Les Monagasques best opportunity came in the 28th minute from striker Myron Boadu but his effort was comfortably collected by LOSC shot-stopper Ivo Grbic who had been merely a spectator until this point, due to the dominance of the northern outfit.
Sofiane Diop was next to try his luck for the hosts but his long-range effort sailed off target as Monaco finally started to show some intent (33').
Kovac's side got their reward for stamping their authority on the game when Krépin Diatta reduced the arrears with a powerful strike from the edge of the area, beating Grbic at his near post (41').
Monaco began the second half with the same threat they posed at the end of the first and Kevin Volland went close with a scruffy effort that was eventually cleared off the line by Tiago Djalo (49').
The Germany international was presented with another opportunity to draw his side level shortly after, but his strike was saved low by Grbic (52').
The principality side started to look the most likely to score the next goal and Gelson Martins fired his effort over from close range as the hosts piled on the pressure (55').
Monaco were producing some excellent build up play but continually lacked composure in front of goal, with Axel Disasi the latest culprit, heading Caio Henrique's cross over the bar when he should have tested Grbic (68').
Kovac introduced Wissam Ben Yedder to provide more firepower as his side searched for an equaliser. LOSC were now firmly on the backfoot and hoping to avoid a repeat of their last away game at Paris Saint-Germain when they surrendered a lead, after a dominant opening (72').
Monaco's game plan was dealt a blow 12 minutes from time when Pavlovic was sent off for a second bookable offence after a challenge on Ikone. But the dismissal did not deter Kovac's side and the ten-men drew level when Volland played in Ben Yedder who fired home at Grbic's near post, just as Diatta did earlier in the evening (83').
Both Monaco and LOSC had chances to find a winner in the dying minutes but an entertaining start to the Ligue 1 Uber Eats weekend ended in a deserved point for both teams.
THE PLAYER: Jonathan David
The Canadian's brace took his tally to ten goals for the season, topping the scoring charts in Ligue 1 Uber Eats. A constant threat with his pace and movement, David ensured Monaco's centre-backs suffered a torrid start to the game, scoring twice inside the opening ten minutes. David's form has been a shining light in what has been a frustrating season so far for LOSC.
THE STAT: 4
For the fourth league game in a row, LOSC squandered points from a winning position - a trend that will no doubt worry Jocelyn Gourvennec. Unable to build on excellent first-half displays, LOSC will need to find a solution to their second-half woes if they are to build any momentum and climb out of the bottom half of the table.