• Lopes on target again as Monaco beats Bordeaux


    PARIS: Rony Lopes scored his sixth goal in seven games as Monaco came from from behind to beat Bordeaux 2-1 to tighten their grip on second place in Ligue 1 on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

    Runaway leaders Paris Saint Germain have 71 points ahead of their trip to Troyes on Saturday, and Monaco now have 60 while third placed Marseille have 55 before hosting Nantes Sunday.

    Monaco’s French midfielder Rachid Ghezzal (left) vies with Bordeaux’s French defender Maxime Poundje (right) during the French L1 football match Monaco vs Bordeaux on Saturday at the “Louis II Stadium” in Monaco. AFP PHOTO

    Bordeaux had won four of their last five games before this challenging away clash and took the lead with a thumping goal from Valentin Vada around the half hour.

    The 21-year-old Argentine sneaked into the box to wallop a first time strike into the top corner.

    Arsenal target Thomas Lemar spurned a golden opportunity to equalise within a minute as he nudged a ball agonisingly wide with the Bordeaux ‘keeper Benoit Costil beaten.

    Stevan Jovetic’s equaliser in the 45th minute sent the hosts back to the dressing room with a boost.

    Running on to a through ball he raced into the box and wrong footed Costil as his shot flew into the bottom corner.

    Lopes then sealed the three points in the 69th minute with a tight-angled shot from the edge of the six-yard area.

    Lopes had scored five times in Monaco’s last six league games, including a brace in last week’s 3-3 draw at Toulouse. Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco are now unbeaten in 13 league outings.

    Now 22, the Portuguese attacking midfielder was at Manchester City before being sold to Monaco in 2015. After spending last season on loan at Lille, he returned as a replacement for Bernardo Silva, and is enjoying a fine campaign.

    “He is one of those players to show their capacity to succeed, so I congratulate him,” said Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim.

    “He has made the most of the eight months since he returned.”


    Balotelli on target

    Earlier Friday, Mario Balotelli set Nice on their way to a narrow and hard fought 2-1 home win over relegation threatened Lille.

    The 27-year-old Italian directed home an impressive fifth minute header, his 22nd of the season, as rumours of a move in the summer to AS Roma mount.

    Wylen Cyprien’s winner in the 80th minute capped a flying run with a flying volley to seal all three points as Nice chase a Europa League spot with a run of form after a poor start to the season.



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