The hosts came into this game in 10th place and on a five-match unbeaten run themselves, but they fell behind inside three minutes when 18-year-old Aïman Maurer – making his first-team debut as the youngest player in the Lanciers’ history – conceded a free-kick. The novice’s punishment for that indiscretion came in instalments, as Caio Henrique found Guillermo Maripán to head on target, before the ball took a significant deflection off unlucky centre-back Mateusz Wieteska on its way into the net, although Maripán was eventually awarded the goal.
Monaco soon doubled their lead, when Takumi Minamino robbed Saîf-Eddine Khaoui of possession and fed Aleksandr Golovin. Composed as ever, the Russian playmaker skipped past a challenge to the byline, before crossing for Breel Embolo to head in his 12th league goal of the campaign. The Swiss poacher’s strike was significant too, putting him level with teammate Wissam Ben Yedder for Philippe Clement’s men this season.
Ben Yedder himself was on the bench, having started and scored in the 3-2 midweek win over Auxerre, but the former Sevilla striker’s involvement didn’t seem needed, with home goalkeeper Mory Diaw getting down smartly to parry Caio Henrique’s low drive. Minamino then smashed into the side-netting as the principality outfit utterly controlled proceedings at Stade Gabriel-Montpied right up to HT, although Clermont boss Pascal Gastien chose not to make any changes at the break.
His side had a penalty shout early in the second period when Grejohn Kyei went down under the challenge of Axel Disasi, only for referee Marc Bollengier to rule out the possibility of the advantage being halved following a check by the VAR officials. As a result, it took until the 65th minute for Gastien’s men to register a shot as Khaoui’s speculative effort flew over, but Alexander Nübel was finally tested soon afterwards, taking evasive action to unconvincingly scoop recent substitute Jérémie Bela’s cross away from danger.
At the other end, Krépin Diatta’s sloppy square pass prevented Embolo from getting his second of the afternoon, before Nübel shovelled away a deflected Maurer free-kick and Jim Allevinah glaringly missed late on. For Monaco, this was ultimately little more than a warm-up before their crunch clash against PSG, a victory in which would certainly shorten their odds of enjoying a place at Europe’s top table next term.
Flashscore Man of the Match: Caio Henrique (AS Monaco)