Nkosinathi Nhleko scored the only goal as Viking FK's UEFA Cup adventure continued with a home victory against AS Monaco FC.
The South African striker turned in Thomas Pereira's cross in the 18th minute to give the Norwegian side, who defeated Portadown FC and Rhyl FC in qualifying and FK Austria Wien in the first round to reach the group stage, all three points in their Group A opener. Monaco, the 2004 UEFA Champions League runners-up, were frustrated by Viking goalkeeper Anthony Basso throughout, although substitute David Gigliotti struck a post in added time.
Monaco were reduced to long-range efforts in the opening stages, with Maicon and Patrice Evra having such shots repelled by Basso. However, the hosts took the lead from their first presentable chance of the game. Pereira strode into space down the right, looked up and picked out Nhleko with a precise centre which the striker turned into the roof of the net from five metres.
Stunned initially, Monaco responded by peppering Basso's goal with shots. Lucas Bernardi fired off an effort from 23 metres which flew over the bar, Oliver Kapo went closer with a drive turned around the post by the French shot-stopper, and Camel Meriem and Jaroslav Plašil were both denied by last-ditch challenges. The visitors continued in the same vein after the break, as - frustratingly for them - did their countryman.
Basso was again the hero as he denied Meriem twice and Gigliotti from restoring parity before the hour mark. Kapo, the former Juventus midfielder, then squandered a golden chance in the 72nd minute when he flashed a shot wide from close range. Viking were content to sit deep and play on the counterattack, a tactic which saw Allan Gaarde latch on to an Egil Østenstad cross only to find Guillaume Warmuz, like Basso, in fine form.
Having tipped that effort superbly around the post, Warmuz could have done little to prevent Peter Kopteff doubling Viking's advantage had the midfielder shown more composure when dragging an 89th-minute shot wide. Revived by that let-off, Monaco poured forward in search of a point, and would have taken one had Gigliotti's header in the second minute of added time not rebounded off the upright.
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