Champions AS Monaco had to twice come from behind to secure a thrilling win in Friday’s Ligue 1 Conforama opener as they saw off a tenacious Toulouse FC 3-2.
Monaco had swept imperiously to last season’s title on the platform of their stunning attack that racked up over a century of league goals. The departure of Bernardo Silva to Manchester City this summer was expected to have blunted their cutting edge, but Toulouse almost immediately suggested the champions’ difficulties may come at the opposite end of the pitch.
A corner was swung into the hosts’ box where Andy Delort chested the ball forward and Zinédine Machach, who has returned to TFC after a season-long loan spell with Olympique de Marseille, sent a volley across Danijel Subasic and into the far corner (7′).
Monaco have managed to hang on to Kylian Mbappe, and the young forward threatened twice (14′, 20′) only to be upstaged by one of his defensive team-mates as Jemerson grabbed an equaliser — the Brazilian centre-back meeting Joao Moutinho’s corner to beat Alban Lafont with a perfectly-executed header (28′).
Thomas Lemar, another sought-after Monaco asset, tested Toulouse’s mega-talented teenage goalkeeper with a free-kick early in the second half (49′) before Toulouse stunned the champions again.
Capitalising on a poor Djibril Sidibé clearance, Jimmy Durmaz charged down the left before biding his time just long enough to allow Delort to rumble up in support. The former Tigres forward took a touch to his team-mate’s cross before crisply firing home (52′).
Mbappé’s partnership with Radamel Falcao promises much, and the duo’s qualities helped pull the champions level soon after. It was an Mbappé backheel that freed Jorge, and the full-back’s cross was met by a powerful header from Falcao as the Colombia international opened his L1 account (58′).
But for all their firepower, it was another defender who grabbed the goal and the glory. Moutinho’s free-kick arced invitingly into the visitors’ penalty area, and Kamil Glik’s delicate glancing header did the rest as Jardim’s side got off to a winning and typically goal-filled start (70′).
THE PLAYER: Kylian Mbappé
For those wondering whether the teenager would be just a one-season wonder, think again! The fledgling France international was a serious menace to Toulouse, providing not only penetration and a goal threat, but mixing in some delicate touches and a healthy dose of industry. The only thing lacking to make it a complete performance was a goal.
THE STAT: 33
Falcao has now scored 33 times in 50 Ligue 1 games (40 starts).