PARIS (AP) — Cesc Fabregas almost had a dream debut for Monaco in the French league only for teammate Youri Tielemans to waste a late golden chance in a 1-1 draw at Marseille last Sunday.
Despite only signing from Premier League Chelsea last Friday, Fabregas went straight into the team and added poise and assurance to Monaco’s midfield.
In the first minute of injury time, Fabregas cleverly chipped the ball over the Marseille defence, only for Tielemans to drag his shot wide.
Watching from the sideline, Monaco coach Thierry Henry could barely contain his frustration. Still, it was an important point for 19th-placed Monaco in its relegation fight.
Next up for Henry’s Monaco is eighth-placed Nice at home on Wednesday, a match which pits Henry against his former Arsenal and France teammate Patrick Vieira, who is now coach of Nice. Both Henry and Vieira were also teammates of Fabregas when he started his Arsenal career late in 2003.
The 31-year-old Fabregas went on to become one of the finest midfielders in the Premier League with Arsenal and Chelsea. He won league titles with Chelsea and with Barcelona, as well as winning the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.
He could prove a vital signing for Henry.
It was another midfielder, Maxime Lopez, who put Marseille ahead with a low strike in the 13th minute.
Marseille sat back waiting for halftime and was punished in the 38th when Belgium midfielder Tielemans swept home his fifth goal of the league season, following good work down the left by midfielder Aleksandr Golovin.
Golovin was one of Russia’s World Cup stars last year and should have put Monaco ahead in the 51st, but he sliced his shot wide after latching onto new signing Fode Ballo-Toure’s excellent pass from the left.
Monaco appeared to pay for that miss when Marseille winger Florian Thauvin pounced from close range in the 70th after goalkeeper Diego Benaglio saved a shot from Lucas Ocampos.