Victory over Zenit qualifies Monaco for round of 16 in Champions League

Monaco 2 – Zenit 0 

The Stade Louis II was packed yesterday evening to witness Monaco beat Zenit St Petersburg 2-0 to finish first of Group C and making it into the KO stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Prince Albert came right after the closing ceremony of the International Olympic Committee session at the Grimaldi Forum to support his team, accompanied by club president Dmitry Rybolovlev, vice-president Vadim Vasilyev.

The Monegasques, who only needed one point to qualify, played a prudent defensive game all throughout the first half,  while Zenit, who required a win to qualify, was really offensive and dominated the possession of the ball. But Portuguese coach Leonardo Jardim changed strategy in the intermission and the Red and White’s reentered the field in an attacking mood playing a more dynamic and confident second period. It really paid off when Tunisian central defender Aymen Abdennour (5) opened the score at 63rd minute from a pass from Belgium winger Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco (17), and Brazilian right-back Fabinho (2) secured victory 1 minute before the end of the official time by scoring a goal that went through Yuri Lodygin’s legs. Furthermore, Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic (1) was at his best stopping any shots on goal by the visiting team, including shots from strongly built Zenit Brazilian forward Hulk (7).

With Bayer Leverkusen settling for second place one point behind, after drawing a tie with Benfica, Monaco ended up first in Group C with 11 points in spite of having marked a meager total of 4 goals. Moreover, Zenit rolled into the Europa League round of 32. Portuguese coach Andre Villas-Boas will have to be content with just that! The last time Monaco had been in this same round of Champions League was back in 2005.

This win will certainly be an inspiration for the Monegasques who will play at home on Sunday, December 14 at 21:00 against Olympic Marseille for the French League.

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