Golovin sends Monaco into top half with Dijon win
AS Monaco leapt from 15th to eighth after Aleksandr Golovin fired the principality side to a 1-0 win over Dijon FCO at the Stade Louis II on Saturday.
AS Monaco 1-0 Dijon FCO
Monaco welcomed Dijon to the Mediterranean cost just one place and three points better off than their visitors, ominously poised above the relegation zone. Both sides have been resurgent of late, though: Monaco having won three of their previous four games and Dijon claiming Paris Saint-Germain's scalp last Friday. Monaco carved out the first chance, with Kamil Glik's header from a corner forcing a good save from Alfred Gomis (19'). Jhonder Cadiz - scorer of the winner against PSG - then had an opportunity at the other end, scooting past Glik and letting fly, only to see Benjamin Lecomte push his effort clear (24'). Golovin sent another corner into the Angers box soon after; this time Benoît Badiashile met the delivery, but the young defender was denied his second top-flight goal by a lively Gomis (29'). Islam Slimani returned to Monaco's starting XI after spending the last two games sidelined with a groin problem, and he was the next to try his luck, heading Wissam Ben Yedder's cross toward goal, but again Gomis was equal to the danger (33'). Mounir Chouiar, scorer of the first of Dijon's two goals against Paris, tried to keep Monaco honest with a low drive which Lecomte turned around the post (34'), but there was to be no denying Leonardo Jardim's side, who took a deserved lead just before the interval when Golovin chested down Slimani's pass and thrashed home his third goal of the campaign (41').
Monaco make sure
Having already equalled his goal tally from last season in the space of 11 games, Golovin set about trying to add to his tally after the restart. The Russia midfielder broke into the Dijon box once again, meeting Gelson Martins' cross, but Gomis, in irrepressible mood, made a fine stop (47'). Both 'keepers were having good games - arguably more impressive from Lecomte given that he had less shots to face and therefore had to keep his concentration levels high when he was called upon . The Dijon man did just that when Chouiar raced past Glik and blasted an effort towards his goal on the hour, springing to his left to paw the striker's effort clear (60'). Monaco continued to dominate despite that scare, and Gomis had to be on his toes to keep out a pair of chances as the hosts looked to extend their lead. Golvin's late runs into the box were a constant menace for Stéphane Jobard's side, and another surge, to meet Gil Dias's pass, resulted in a parry from the 'keeper, with Martins flashing the rebound over the bar (63'). Gomis then stopped Martins when one-one-one (75') and was the Monaco crossbar away from giving his side the platform to share the points, Cadiz's late header bouncing back off the woodwork (87') as it ended 1-0.
THE PLAYER: Aleksandr Golovin
Gomis should probably be given the freedom of the city after the goalkeeping heroics that kept the scoreline respectable for Dijon, but Monaco did indeed get back to winning ways after their narrow 1-0 loss to AS Saint-Etienne last Sunday, and Golovin was utterly central to that fact on Saturday. As well as his goal, the Russian won 10 one-on-ones in the middle of the park and completed 80 percent of his passes, which, considering his propensity to tear forward at speed, is quite some feat.
THE STAT: 5
Monaco are undefeated in their five home games against Dijon in all competitions, never having lost to Les Rouges in the principality. They have also won five of their last seven Ligue 1 Conforama games, as many as they managed in their first 26 fixtures in 2019. Now just a point from third, the early weeks in the relegation places are beginning to feel like a distant memory.