Kovac, Monaco
Monaco’s Croatian coach Niko Kovac reacts at the end of the French L1 football match between AS Monaco and Stade de Reims at The “Louis II Stadium” in Monaco on August 23, 2020. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

Monaco drew 2-2 with Reims in Niko Kovac’s first competitive game in charge on Sunday on the opening weekend of the Ligue 1 season.

Kovac, who left Bayern Munich in November, was appointed by the 2017 French champions to replace the sacked Robert Moreno in July.

Centre-backs Axel Disasi and Benoit Badiashile scored either side of the break to claim a point for Kovac at Stade Louis II.

Visitors Reims, who played in the first-ever European Cup final, will play in the second qualifying round of the Europa League next month, as they return to continental competition for the first time since 1963.

Boulaye Dia opened the scoring for the hosts after five minutes as El Bilal Toure won an aerial battle with Disasi.

After 21 minutes, Toure curled an effort into the bottom corner from outside the box after a Disasi and his centre-back partner Badiashile failed to clear.

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Disasi, who joined Monaco from Reims earlier in August, halved the deficit in first-half injury time.

Badiashile levelled 10 minutes into the second half poking, in from the back post after a Aleksandr Golovin free-kick.

Kovac sent on French youth internationals Willem Geubbels and Sofiane Diop but the pair failed to threaten goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.

Monaco
Monaco’s French defender Ruben Aguilar (L) vies with Reims’ Kosovo forward Arber Zeneli during the French L1 football match between AS Monaco and Stade de Reims at The “Louis II Stadium” in Monaco on August 23, 2020. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP)

Aurelien Tchouameni almost claimed all three points for Kovac’s side but his additional time header glanced past Rajkovic’s post.

On Friday, Bordeaux drew 0-0 at home against Nantes in a match which replaced Saint-Etienne’s trip to Marseille which was postponed due to coronavirus spike in Andre Vilas-Boas’ squad.

On Saturday, Rennes, who will take part in the Champions League for the first time, drew 1-1 with Lille.

Champions League finalists and French title holders Paris Saint-Germain, as well as semi-finalists Lyon, have had their matches for the weekend delayed due to their European exploits.

VANGUARD

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