Monaco was better controlled in Prague against Sparta (2-0) in the third preliminary round of the Champions League, Tuesday, August 3, in a meeting marred by racist crises against Monegasque players.
On the pitch, everything went smoothly for the third place in the last Ligue 1 championship against the Czech vice-champions. The clear and flawless victory, thanks to a half-time goal from Aurélien Tchouameni (37th) and Kevin Volland (59th), puts the Principality’s team in a perfect situation before the return match next week at home .
On the other hand, this first meeting of the Monaco season was polluted by a major incident: racist crises. Aurélien Tchouameni complained of monkey cries launched against him when he was celebrating his goal, the first of the meeting. After having directly reported it to his coach Niko Kovac, he clarified it to the referee of the meeting, the Englishman Mr. Mickael Oliver. The latter received the complaint of the player and his captain Wissam Ben Yedder.
Then he applied the protocol put in place by UEFA. He asked the stadium announcer to remind the public that in the event of a new incident, the match would be stopped. The European football authorities will discuss this issue a posteriori, once the two clubs have provided other elements. If the Monegasque players were affected by the situation, they remained focused, diligent and disciplined during the rest of the match.
Goalkeeper Alexander Nübel, the only rookie lined up from the start by Kovac, had nothing to do, except after a bad kick start. After a delicate first quarter of an hour, punctuated by numerous technical errors, Monaco was more precise and therefore easily accelerated. The first goal came from a corner from Aleksandr Golovin, after a few unsuccessful attempts (Golovin 11th and Gelson Martins 14th). Completely lonely, Tchouameni won in the air (1-0, 37th).
Monaco then remained very solid, with a very good Tchouaméni, especially after the break. In attack, Kovac had decided to start his pair of fire from last season, Ben Yedder-Volland. Even short of form, both players were important. After the exit of the first replaced by Sofiane Diop, the second beat Florin Nita, the Romanian goalkeeper of Sparta to seal the victory of the Red and White (2-0, 59th).
Monaco thus approached the return match, which will be held next Tuesday at the Stade Louis-II, in a very favorable position. If all goes without a hitch, Kovac and his men will then face Shakhtar Donetsk or Genk in play-offs (first leg August 17 and 18, return August 24 and 25) to return to the group stage of the Champions League. It now remains to be seen, in parallel, how UEFA will deal with the racist incidents that take place during this match.