Monaco beat Lyon 2-1 thanks to a pair of second half headers, bringing an end to their winless home run this season.
Krepin Diatta and Breel Embolo both spurned gilt-edged chances in the first half, while Aleksandr Golovin almost caught Antony Lopes out with an audacious volley from 25 yards.
Malo Gusto was a dynamo on Lyon’s right flank, cutting out Monaco passes and driving forward to spark attacking moves of his own.
After the break, Alexandre Lacazette came close for Lyon, racing onto a lovely pass from Corentin Tolisso, but Alexander Nubel was up to the task.
Benoit Badiashile got the breakthrough goal for Monaco from a 56th-minute corner, easily escaping the marking of Thiago Mendes to head home.
Eight minutes later, Monaco doubled their lead when Guillermo Maripan headed home Caio Henrique’s free kick.
As Badiashile had done, Maripan found himself free in Lyon’s box and couldn’t miss from close range.
Second half substitute Rayan Cherki gave Lyon hope when his clever run and cross set up Toko Ekambi to score an impressive volley.
For the first time, Lyon began to attack with abandon and they forced Monaco back. The home side were defending desperately and both Moussa Dembele and Lacazette could – and probably should – have equalised in the closing minutes.
But Monaco held on to move into the top half. Lyon slump to back-to-back defeats, and miss a chance to keep pace with the top four.
TALKING POINT: LYON REMAIN A WORK IN PROGRESS
Former Ajax coach Peter Bosz was appointed 12 months ago, but his team are yet to fully embrace his ideals.
The performance against Monaco showed real promise, but stumbled at the final hurdle again and again. While the home side were defending for much of the match, Lyon were too methodical and cautious in possession to really push them deep. Only in the final minutes, when Bosz injected the skillful and fearless Cherki, did Monaco really have to defend with desperation.
There were plenty of reasons for optimism, too. Gusto’s performance on the right flank, Lopes’ consistency in goal, Tolisso’s seamless connection with his team mates and precocious Johann Lepenant’s overall display, but ultimately this match will serve as a lesson for a young team still finding its way.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: MALO GUSTO
Lyon’s right back was brilliant against Monaco. The 19-year-old is usually considered an attacking full-back, and he certainly did contribute going forward, but it was his defensive display that really caught the eye.
Gusto was brave in attacking every loose ball, cutting out almost every Monaco attack that came down his side. It was Gusto who got pressure on Golovin when the Russian’s volley so nearly beat Lopes from distance. It was Gusto, too, who stole in to pick the ball off the toes of Breel Embolo as he prepared to shoot on the verge of half time.
He made 20 more touches than any other player on the pitch, and should have had the assist for the equaliser late on but Lacazette fluffed his lines.
It’s easy to see why Lyon were happy to sell starting right-back Leo Dubois this summer, when they had Gusto waiting to take his place.
Monaco: Nubel 7, Disasi 6, Maripan 7, Badiashile 7, Vanderson 7, Fofana 7, Camara 6, Henrique 8, Golovin 8, Diatta 6, Embolo 4. Subs: Aguilar N/A, Ben Yedder N/A, Jakobs N/A, Sarr 6
Lyon: Lopes 7, Tagliafico 6, Lukeba 6, Mendes 5, Gusto 8, Lepenant 7, Caqueret 7, Tolisso 7, Toko Ekambi 7, Tete 7, Lacazette 5. Subs: Reine-Adelaide N/A, Faivre N/A, Cherki 7, Dembele 5
16’ – MONACO OFF THE POST – After lovely work from Golovin down the left flank, the ball pops up on the spot for Diatta who has time to place his shot, but clangs it off the upright.
17’ – EMBOLO WASTES HUGE CHANCE – A perfect Vanderson cross finds Embolo unmarked in the box, but the Swiss forward’s header is right down the throat of Lopes who saves easily.
44’ – GOLOVIN FROM 30 YARDS – The Russian absolutely hammers a volley which Lopes needs to be at full stretch to stop. What a goal that would have been, and out of nothing, too.
56′ – GOAL MONACO – Badiashile escapes the attention of Mendes in the Lyon box and heads home the corner with ease.
63′ – GOAL MONACO – Caio Henrique swings in the free kick and Guillermo Maripan beats his marker to head home unopposed.
81′ – GOAL LYON – Rayan Cherki makes space with a clever dart and floats a cross to Toko Ekambi who volleys it down and across goal. The shot just beats Nubel into the bottom corner.