AS Monaco had automatic qualification for the Champions League group stage snatched from their grasp right at the death at Stade Bolleart-Delelis as RC Lens grabbed a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw and send Philippe Clement’s side into 3rd place in Ligue 1 behind Marseille.
With Marseille defeating Strasbourg 4-0 at the Stade Velodrome, they leapfrogged Monaco into 2nd, to condemn The Monegasques to the Champions League third qualifying round.
As the stakes were high going into this game, with Lens also battling out for European qualification themselves, Monaco started off tentatively.
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Lens, who needed to win and hope that both Strasbourg and Nice lost to secure a place in the Conference League, were the side comfortably on top in the opening exchanges, registering thirteen shots on goal in the first 24 minutes.
Franck Haise’s side eventually made the breakthrough on the half hour mark, courtesy of a mistake by Monaco goalkeeper Alexander Nubel. The German palmed Jonathan Clauss’ low cross from the right straight into the path of Przemysław Frankowski, who finished the rebound into the roof of the net.
However, Monaco hit back straight away, as Benoit Badiashile found the leveller from inside the box on 34 minutes. The goal was confirmed after a VAR check.
Philippe Clement’s side then got their noses in front midway through the second half, as Wissam Ben Yedder headed in Kevin Volland’s cross at the back post to put his side ahead and get his 25th goal of the campaign.
Then, In the fifth minute of added time, Monaco were dealt a massive blow, as Lens found yet another late equaliser. Ignatius Ganago stabbed home from a free-kick from inside the area with the last kick of the match to relinquish 2nd place from Monaco in dramatic circumstances.

TALKING POINT - MONACO SUFFER A LATE BLOW

At the start of the day in Ligue 1, AS Monaco sat in 2nd place in the table, and occupied the second and last automatic Champions League qualification place, which would guarantee them passage into the group stage of next season's competition.
However, the Monegasques were also level on points with 3rd placed Marseille before a ball was kicked, and only ahead of them in the table on goal difference. That meant Phillippe Clement's Monaco side needed to try their best to win against Lens to keep their fate in their own hands.
Despite being second best for the majority of the match - demonstrated by Lens' 24 attempts on goal, Monaco came from behind to grab an important lead, and just needed to see out the last half an hour to secure their objective.
However, the game boiled over in the closing stages, with two separate mini-brawls between both sets of players. This proved to have a significant effect on the outcome of the match, as five minutes of stoppage time was signalled by the referee.
Then, Monaco's worst nightmares were realised. Lens had equalised with the last kick, preserving their recent unbeaten record against the side from the South - now at four games - and condemning the Monagasques to 3rd place in the table, when just seconds before, their objective was all but achieved.
It will be tough for the squad to swallow, but it is not all bad news, as they remain in with a chance of Champions League qualification, albeit now with an earlier start to next season.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Przemysław Frankowski

Lens' Polish midfielder Przemyslaw Frankowski (C) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the French L1 football match between RC Lens and AS Monaco at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, northern France on May 21, 2022

Image credit: Getty Images

The 27-year-old wing back produced a brilliant performance for Lens this evening, and capped it off with the goal that gave his side the lead in the first half.
Frankowski, who popped up at the right place at the right time to latch onto a loose parry by Monaco goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, buried his effort into the roof of the net. As well as his goalscoring exploits, the Pole also proved to be key in linking play from the left into the centre, for players such as Seko Fofana and Cheick Doucoure, as the double pivot in midfield often made surging runs into the box.
In terms of stats, Frankowski had a sublime pass success rate of 94%, won all three of his tackles, made two clearances and also made three interceptions. A good all-round performance.

PLAYER RATINGS

Racing Club de Lens: Farinez 6, Gradit 6, Danso 6, Medina 7, Clauss 7, Doucoure 7, Fofana 7, Frankowski 7, Costa 7, Sotoca 7, Kalimuendo 6. Subs: Cahuzac 6, Said 6, Jean 6, Machado 6, Ganago 7.
AS Monaco: Nubel 7, Henrique 6, Badiashile 7, Disasi 6, Aguilar 6, Tchouameni 6, Fofana 6, Vanderson 6, Volland 7, Golovin 6, Ben Yedder 7. Subs: Matazo 6, Boadu 6, Jakobs 6, Maripan 6.

KEY MOMENTS

20’ - MAGIC FROM FOFANA IS CUT OUT! - What a move by Lens, but Monaco survive! Fofana receives the give-and-go from Costa in the area, before making a fantastic run forward, completely leaving a Monaco defender for dead as he shifts the ball between his feet, but just as the shot comes in, Disasi puts his body on the line to make a crucial block!
30’ - GOAL! (Przemysław Frankowski) - The home crowd are ecstatic, and they deserve this lead! It is a poor mistake from Nubel in the Monaco goal, as he palms Clauss' low cross straight into the path of Frankowski, and the Polish wing-back finishes into the roof of the net from close range! It takes a touch from Aguilar on its way in.
34’ - GOAL! (Benoît Badiashile) - Badiashile equalises for Monaco following a corner! Golovin whips in the delivery from the right, and the defender manages to scramble the ball in! There is a VAR check for a potential foul in the build-up, as it looks like Badiashile catches Danso moments before he gets the contact that sends the ball into the net. After a delay of about a minute or so, the goal is given!
62’ - GOAL! (Wissam Ben Yedder) - It's that man Wissam Ben Yedder! He has his 25th of the season for Monaco! The away side break with Volland, who clips in an early cross for the striker at the back post. He delays his run slightly so he can meet the ball, which he does with his head, and it goes into the bottom corner! Lens are stunned and Monaco are back into 2nd place in Ligue 1!
90+5’ - GOAL! (Ignatius Ganago) - Unreal scenes here - that is a disaster for Monaco! Ganago stabs in a free-kick delivery at the near post to give Lens a point! The Monaco players are devastated! Fofana gave away a cheap free-kick there with a silly foul, and his side have paid the price!

KEY STATS

  • AS Monaco’s record without a win against Lens now stretches to four games (L2, D2).
  • Lens end the season with no losses in their last eight games (W5, D3).
  • Monaco drop points in Ligue 1 for the first time since March 13 (1-0 loss to Strasbourg).
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