Monaco 1 Leverkusen 0
Yesterday evening there was a true party atmosphere at Stade Louis II, as Monaco received Bayer 04 Leverkusen for their first match of Champions League. Against all odds the Monegasques beat a team who is at the top of the Bundesliga and who entered the field very confident.
The first period was very difficult for the home team, performing poorly against the visitors who put on a great display but missed a few opportunities to score. During the second half the Red and Whites were more compact, and raised their game. Former Leverkusen striker Dimitar Berbatov (2001-2006) kicked the ball into the route of Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho who scored on the 61st minute sealing the Monegasque victory. Fans stood up cheering loudly to celebrate, including Prince Albert and club President Dmitry Rybolovlev watching from the Royal box. Leonardo Jardim must have given a great half-time pep talk because it certainly worked! With this first win under his belt the Portuguese trainer surely felt proud of his team. He was quoted saying: “We were superior.”
In great company
Our friend and movie producer Michel Merkt whose latest movie “Map to the Stars” received the Palm D’Or recognition in Cannes this year, invited us to watch the match from the comfort of his loge. What a privilege! Among his interesting guests was Monegasque young racing driver Stefano Coletti with the Rapax Team who had an amazing race in GP2 Monza the previous Sunday. On the photo we can see Michel with Stefano and his friend Francois Sangiorgo, flagging a Joao Moutinho’s signed shirt that Michel received as a souvenir of Monaco’s victory. Very fitting!
The UEFA Champions League competition is very prestigious and this victory will certainly have some positive effect on the mind of the Monegasque players who suffered a bad start of the season in League 1. The test will be this coming Sunday when they play at home against Guingamp and surely they will fight hard to get out of the relegation zone.
The next Champions League match for Monaco will be away on Wednesday, October 1 versus FC Zenit St-Petersburg who also started with a win against Benfica.