Portuguese trio fire classy Monaco second in Ligue 1

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PARIS: Portuguese trio Bernardo Silva, Fabio Coentrao and Helder Costa were all on target as Monaco climbed to second in Ligue 1 on Sunday (Monday in Manila) thanks to a 4-0 defeat of Toulouse.

Monaco still trail runaway leaders Paris Saint Germain, who beat Angers 5-1 Saturday, by 21 points, but climbed three clear of Nice, who had been second overnight after their 2-1 win at home to Lorient.

“The thing will be to keep a minimum of three points between us and third place until the end of the season,” said Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.

The victory also left Monaco nine points clear of Lyon and Marseille, who contested a high-octane 1-1 draw at Lyon’s new stadium in Sunday’s late match.


Marseille can thank their captain and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda for his 10 saves, one of them a magnificent one-handed stop from a Mathieu Valbuena strike just before Marseille’s 65th minute opener.

“We deserved the draw and although a point doesn’t do much for us Lyon played really well, so in a way it was a relief not to lose,” Mandanda said after the game.

The visitors went ahead against the run of play when Remy Cabella unleashed a fierce strike from the edge of the box when perfectly teed up by Michy Batshuayi.

And while Lyon equalised through Corentin Tolisso on 79 minutes to set up a pulsating finish, Lyon may see this as two points dropped.

Third last season behind PSG and Lyon, Monaco outclassed relegation threatened Toulouse as Argentine Guido Carrillo also got on the scoresheet.

It was the first time the team have scored four this season and they did so with new recruit, Brazilian striker Wagner Love, watching from the stands.

“We played well for a change,” Monaco’s Portuguese handler Leonardo Jardim joked afterwards.

“And we saved a penalty at 2-0 which may have changed the game,” Jardim said of Croat ‘keeper Danijel Subasic’s fine effort to keep out Wissam Ben Yedder spot-kick.

Saint Etienne blew a chance to climb to fourth when they gave up a last minute goal at Reims, who earned a 1-1 draw which saw them climb clear of the drop zone.

On Saturday, Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring for PSG at the Parc des Princes with his 17th league goal of the season before Lucas doubled the lead for Laurent Blanc’s side just before half-time.

The floodgates then opened after the break with Gregory Van der Wiel rounding off a superb team move for PSG’s third, only for Pierrick Capelle to pull one back, but Angel Di Maria then scored twice in the space of four minutes to complete the rout.

Hatem Ben Arfa netted his 10th goal of the season as Nice beat Lorient 2-1 while on Friday new Rennes coach Rolland Courbis oversaw their first home win in ten matches – 1-0 over Gazelec-Ajaccio – as they climbed to fourth.

Troyes finally registered their first win of the season after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Lille, with Bordeaux rallying late on to draw 2-2 at Nantes.

AFP

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