Derby County Under-23s got their first points on the board in their Premier League International Cup opener with a 2-0 victory over AS Monaco.
Derby looked bright on the attack throughout the game and their persistence paid off midway through the second-half as Callum Minkley bagged his first goal at Under-23s level when he headed in from Jayden Mitchell-Lawson’s corner.
It didn’t take long for their lead to be doubled when Jahmal Hector-Ingram converted from the penalty spot after Mitchell-Lawson was hauled down.
Senior right-back Andre Wisdom played 60 minutes for Darren Wassall’s side as he continues to build match fitness.
The French visitors showed their intent early, asserting their physicality and relentlessness to get on the ball. Within two minutes, they had their first shot as Enzo Millot saw his shot from just inside the area roll just wide of the mark.
The Rams dug in and soon saw their first of a handful of first-half chances at the other end. A lovely ball by Morgan Whittaker found Louie Sibley in the area and a brilliant quick touch was received by Mitchell-Lawson to fire on target and draw a save by Jeremi Abonnel.
Moments later, Hector-Ingram, from a similar position, sent a low effort just wide.
On the 20-minute mark, Mitchell-Lawson was hauled down by Yoann Etienne when he sprinted cler through down the left flank. Max Bird sent the resulting free-kick into the area for Sibley to head just over.
Derby continued to create chances, and their best of the half came with five minutes left to play when Mitchell-Lawson fired from range and clipped the post. There was time for one more opportunity when good build-up play saw Sibley’s shot deflected to Bird outside of the area and his half-volley effort went just wide.
The Rams’ persistence paid off in the second-half in the 66th minute from Mitchell-Lawson’s corner. The ball landed to Minkley at the far post to head in.
The Rams doubled their lead with just more than ten minutes to play. Mitchell-Lawson continued to be a handful for the visitors and was brought down in the area as he blitzed through. Hector-Ingram stepped up to the spot and sent his shot towards the bottom right corner. Abonnel got a hand to it, but the effort was too strong to save.
The Rams will face Feyenoord and Southampton in Group F later this year. Before then, they return to Premier League 2 Division 1 action when they take on Blackburn Rovers this Sunday at the Training Ground in partnership with University of Derby.
Derby County: Ravas, Wisdom, Brown, Bird (C), Minkley, Wassall, Whittaker (Shonibare 83), Dixon, Hector-Ingram, Sibley (Cresswell, 83), Mitchell-Lawson
Subs: Yates, McDonald, Thompson, Splatt, Greco
AS Monaco: Abonnel, Etienne, Silva, Popovic, Mbae, Appin, Ibourio, Antognelli (Matazo 45), Ayiah, Millot (Gouano, 57), Zagre
Subs: Toutain, Iglio, Louis, Matsima