Monaco soundly beaten at Metz
Habib Diallo struck twice as FC Metz scored their first win of the 2019-20 Ligue 1 Conforama campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory over ten-man AS Monaco on Saturday.
FC Metz 3-0 AS Monaco
Monaco had been beaten 3-0 by Lyon in their opening game of the season, and with Aleksandr Golovin, Keita Baldé and Radamel Falcao, in particular, all returning from suspension, the trip to Lorraine to face last season's second division champions appeared a welcome one.
Golovin was, however, the only one of the three in the starting XI while Falcao was not even in the matchday squad, his place at the front of the attack taken by new signing Wissam ben Yedder, who was joined by Henry Onyekuru in making his Ligue 1 Conforama debut for the principality outfit.
The torrential rain beating down at the Stade Saint Symphorien was just the first reason the pair would have wished for a better start at their new club. The game was just three minutes old when Diallo saw his shot stopped on the line by Benoît Badiashile after the Senegal international had rounded Benjamin Lecomte (3').
The Monaco goalkeeper had made an uncharacteristic mistake against Lyon, and his confidence looked shaken throughout — his self-belief would surely have been given a boost, however, had he kept out Diallo's penalty that opened the scoring, but the ball squeezed between Lecomte's legs (11').
Referee Eric Wattellier had used VAR to confirm his decision to penalise Kamil Glik's handball, but did not need help to show Ruben Aguilar a straight red card following a lunging challenge from the summer signing from Montpellier Hérault SC (36'). Following Cesc Fabregas' dismissal after half-an-hour against Lyon, it was Monaco's second sending-off in as many games.
Metz showed no mercy. Thomas Delaine had a shot pushed over awkwardly by Lecomte (39') before Farid Boulaya should have added a second — somehow, the unmarked midfielder fired over the crossbar from inside the penalty area (45').
Monaco's reprieve lasted nine minutes — Diallo pounced on the loose ball to fire home his third goal in two top-flight outings when the visiting rearguard had failed to clear a Renaud Cohade free-kick (54').
Cohade drilled in number three himself from another loose ball — this time from the edge of the penalty area — (67'), and but for a brilliant Lecomte save, Diallo would have had a hat-trick with a bullet header (86').
A dipping Golovin free-kick pushed out by Alexandre Oukidja in added time was Monaco's best — and virtually only — opportunity to take something back with them, but they ended the game bottom of the table.
THE PLAYER: Habib Maïga
Though Diallo will get the headlines, the former AS Saint-Étienne midfielder was crucial in his team's victory, keeping the back four safe while also starting Metz's moves forward. He has the potential to be an unsung hero of Metz's season.
THE STAT: 4
Monaco had won their previous four top-flight games in Metz with a goal difference of 13-1.