AS Monaco's Takumi Minamino
Match Reports

Minamino leads Monaco past Lens

Minamino leads Monaco past Lens

Match Reports
Publish on 02/25 at 16:00 - E. DEVIN


The Japanese international scored his sixth goal of the season in injury time to lead the Principality side past Lens, 3-2

In a matchup between two ambitious sides at the Stade Bollaert-Delélis, AS Monaco earned a dramatic and vital win against RC Lens to move back into third place. Both teams had plenty to overcome ahead of the match -- the Monégasques were missing eight first-team players through a combination of injury and suspension, and while Lens had a full complement of players at Franck Haise's disposal, the hosts would have to rebound from a disappointing elimination in the Europa League against German side Freiburg.

That rebound wasn't to be, though, as the visitors, playing with a four-man defence to manage their absences, took the initiative. After Folarin Balogun and Wissam Ben Yedder had both come close to opening the scoring in the early going, it was finally the American who provided the breakthrough, beating Kevin Danso in the air before scoring from close range.

When Takumi Minamino forced Brice Samba into an own goal ten minutes later, it appeared the Principality side would be on their way to a comfortable win, but the hosts weren't ready to give up yet. Taking the match by the scruff of the neck, they pulled a goal back through Elye Wahi in short order, and kept Radoslaw Majecki's goal under threat.

In the second half, Lens continued to press for an equalizer, hoping to repeat their two-goal comeback when these two sides had met in the Coupe de France last month. It would be AS Monaco who had the ball in the net next, though, but what looked a second goal for the striker was soon flagged offside, and that letoff was enough for Lens to snatch an equalizer, with substitute Wesley Saïd leveling the match ten minutes from time.

The match would take another turn, though, as Minamino was brought down by Samba. Up stepped Balogun, looking to seal a win, but the American was left crestfallen as Samba saved his penalty. As the match headed to extra time, a draw which would benefit neither side in the race for Europe looked on the cards, but Minamino scored a brilliant winner, his sixth of the season, to allow the visitors to move third ahead of their big match against Paris Saint-Germain next weekend. Lens, with the loss, remain sixth, their four-match unbeaten run coming to an end ahead of a daunting trip to in-form Lyon.

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