Cesc Fabregas, Monaco, Angers
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Monaco march continues against Angers

Monaco march continues against Angers

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Publish on 04/23 at 10:09 - S. WILLIS

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AS Monaco remain on in the hunt for a domestic double with a trip to Angers SCO's Stade Raymond Kopa up next - even if coach Niko Kovac is refusing to get carried away.

AS Monaco - Angers SCO

 

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Kovac already has a league and cup double to his name, having led Bayern Munich to those heights in Germany in 2019, and his Monaco are beginning to look like the form team in France after dumping Olympique Lyonnais out of the Coupe de France with a 2-0 victory on Wednesday.

 

Flying high

 

Third-placed Monaco are above les Gones in the in Ligue 1 Uber eats table too, last Sunday's 3-0 win at Girondins de Bordeaux maintaining their one-point cushion on the nearest pretenders to their podium place.

 

Watch: Highlights of Monaco's 3-0 win at Bordeaux

 

 

The principality side have won 16 of their 20 games since the turn of the year, only losing once, and they could go top with a win should LOSC and Paris Saint-Germain slip up against Lyon and FC Metz respectively, but Kovac is taking it one game at a time.

 

"It was a difficult victory," he reflected on win that sent Monaco through. "You can't come to Lyon expecting to win easily because they're a superb Ligue 1 team. They also went a long way in the Champions League. We expected a tough battle. We created a lot of chances in the second half. We're very happy to be qualified."

 

Fabregas missing

 

Monaco will find out their semi-final opponents - PSG, Montpellier Hérault SC or fourth-tier GFA Rumilly-Vallières - on Sunday. Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland goals got them to that stage against OL, and the pair have combined for 35 in all competitions this season. Cesc Fabregas will not be available to provide the ammunition this time, though.

 

Cesc Fabregas, Monaco

 

The Spaniard, who knows a thing or two about silverware having won major honours with Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea and Spain, is out for two weeks with a thigh strain. He joins the isolating Krépin Diatta and Eliot Matazo on the sidelines.

 

Goalkeeper Radoslaw Majecki was singled out for praise by Kovac in midweek, but the Pole is expected to cede his place to regular No.1 Benjamin Lecomte as Monaco go in search of a repeat of their 3-0 win in January's reverse fixture.

 

Looking back in Angers?

 

Angers begin the day nine places and 27 points worse off than their visitors on Sunday, but their Coupe de France journey lasted nearly as long, les Scoïstes themselves only knocked out by PSG on Wednesday.

 

Perhaps more worrying than their 5-0 reverse in the Cup is that the Stade Rennais FC defeat last Saturday was their second consecutive 3-0 loss in the league, and although they remain 10 points clear of Nimes in the relegation play-off spot, they can ill afford to keep losing.

 

Watch: Highlights of Angers' 3-0 loss to Rennes

 

 

The absence of attacking midfielder Angelo Fulgini - who has had a hand in 11 goals for his side this season - due to a thigh injury of his own, doesn't help Angers' cause, but Kovac's opposite number Stéphane Moulin thinks his remaining players have what it takes to bounce back.

 

'19 big chances'

 

"I said it was the worst possible draw for us," the coach explained of the PSG game. "This match looked like the two we just played against Rennes and Lyon: we created chances without taking them. Between Montpellier, Rennes, Lyon and Paris, we're on 19 big chances to score a goal! I don't feel that anything's broken."

 

That's not to say Moulin won't need to fix anything. As well as Fulgini, first-team regulars Vincent Manceau, Lassana Coulibaly and Sofiane Boufal are all on the sidelines with groin, calf and knee injuries respectively.

 

Possible teams

 

Monaco: Lecomte; Sidibé, Maripan, Badiashile, Henrique; Fofana, Tchouaméni; Diop, Volland, Golovin; Ben Yedder

 

Angers: Bernardoni; Bamba, Traoré, Thomas, Doumbia; Bobichon, Mangani, Amadou, Capelle; Lage; Bahoken

 

 

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