• Monaco held by Montpellier, coach takes blame

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    PARIS: French champions Monaco missed the chance to go top of Ligue 1 as Souleymane Camara struck an injury-time equalizer to snatch Montpellier a 1-1 draw at the Stade Louis II on Friday (Saturday in Manila).

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    After a slow start, Monaco struck first in the 38th minute as the red-hot Radamel Falcao slid in to score, but Montpellier kept their hosts at arm’s length and Camara stunned the home crowd.

    Leonardo Jardim’s men trail league leaders Paris Saint-Germain on goal difference, ahead of the capital club’s home match against unbeaten Bordeaux on Saturday.

    “Five minutes from the end when you’re leading 1-0, you need to stay focused,” the Portuguese coach said.

    “Of course, I’m not happy. The goal of winning was not achieved. The person responsible for these things is me.”

    Souleymane Camara AFP PHOTO

    Monaco went into the game after a surprising 3-0 Champions League loss at home to Porto in midweek.

    Jardim responded by making five changes to his starting XI, welcoming back goalkeeper Danijel Subasic from injury, as well as reinstating close-season signing Stevan Jovetic alongside Falcao up front.

    Montpellier, who held PSG to a 0-0 draw last weekend, began the match on the front foot and they could have taken the lead when Pedro Mendes found himself with space inside the area, but the center-back curled too close to Subasic.

    Monaco were not much-improved from the Porto defeat, but broke through before half-time as winger Rony Lopes got behind the away defense and crossed low for Falcao, who managed to bundle the ball over the line from point-blank range.

    The Colombian has now scored 12 goals in just eight Ligue 1 games this season.

    Monaco was far from their fluent best, and Montpellier were the stronger side for much of the second period, with full-back Ruben Aguilar volleying narrowly wide.

    The hosts came close to scoring a second goal, though, as Thomas Lemar ran clean through before dinking his effort past the far post.

    But Montpellier grabbed a deserved point in the second minute of injury-time as 34-year-old Senegalese forward Camara pounced to head home Kevin Berigaud’s cross. AFP

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