Mensah makes Evian return in Monaco defeat

Soccer News of Monday, 9 March 2015


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Ghana defender Jonathan Mensah played for Evian Thonon Gaillard on Saturday, ending a first-team absence of almost five months.

However, it was a disappointing afternoon for the Black Star as ETG were comfortably overcome by AS Monaco in Ligue 1.

Evian looked defensively uncomfortable right from the off and conceded on 18 minutes when Anthony Martial, finding space down the left, tore through the backline and fired home.

It was 2-0 before the break, as Dimitar Berbatov—on as an early substitute for Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco—reminded Europe of his sublime technique. The former Manchester United man waltzed through the Evian defence before rounding goalkeeper Benjamin Leroy and firing home against the unfortunate Kassim Abdallah.

Almamy Toure made it three on the hour mark, before Modou Sougou—another substitute—gave Evian a late consolation goal.

Jonathan started the game at left-back, with Pascal Dupraz preferring to retain his central defensive pairing of Dany Nounkeu and Cedric Cambon. He excelled in this unfamiliar position, making seven clearances, four interceptions and two tackles according to

The Ghana international had previously assured fans that he was in no rush to return to the Evian first team following the Afcon and that he was happy just as long as the side are winning.

Even ahead of the tournament he hadn’t been present, having last featured for the side on October 25 in Evian’s 2-0 home defeat to Nantes.

Despite his extensive inactivity, Mensah showed little signs of match rustiness at the Cup of Nations, where he was an ever-present for Ghana. He helped the Black Stars to four clean sheets—against Algeria, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast—but was unable to ensure the Avram Grant’s side lifted the continental championship.

Defeat leaves Evian only three points off the relegation zone, having played 28 games in the French top flight.