Monaco beats Nantes 2-1, moves closer to CL berth
PARIS (AP) — Having all but relinquished its French league title, Monaco strengthened its hold on second place by beating Nantes 2-1 on Saturday.
The Principality club, which trails leader Paris Saint-Germain by 14 points with six games left, extended its lead over third-place Marseille to eight points in their fight for the second automatic Champions League qualifying place. Marseille hosts Mediterranean rival Montpellier on Sunday.
Monaco, which was well beaten by PSG 3-0 last weekend in the League Cup final, travels to the Parc des Princes next Sunday for a game feeling like a transfer of power, as PSG will seal its fifth title in six years with a victory.
Still competing for a domestic treble, PSG was held at Saint-Etienne to 1-1 on Friday.
“We created at least five good occasions in the first half and we controlled the game,” Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said. “We deserved the result, the best team won.”
Monaco put on a solid display to come from behind after Adrien Thomasson put the visitors in the lead in the 32nd minute at Stade Louis II. Radamel Falcao leveled 10 minutes later and the in-form Rony Lopes sealed Monaco’s win in the 45th with his eighth goal in his last seven league matches.
Thomasson chested the ball down and curled a precise shot into the top corner to beat Monaco ’keeper Danijel Subasic.
With his former strike partner Kylian Mbappe watching from the stands, Falcao scored his 50th goal in the French league with a brilliant strike after being involved in the buildup. Lopes accidentally deflected a cross from Fabinho but perfectly set up Falcao.
Falcao then turned provider for Lopes.
Monaco is unbeaten in its last 17 league games, its last defeat dating to November.
Bordeaux striker Francois Kamano scored twice in a 2-1 win over struggling Lille.
Lille, whose aim this season was to qualify for the Champions League, suffered a fifth loss in its last six games and remained second-to-last in the standings, two points below safety.
Lille coach Christophe Galtier replaced regular ’keeper Mike Maignan, and it turned out to be a bad decision as the substitute was at fault on Kamano’s equalizer that canceled out Lebo Mothiba’s opener.
The last time Kamano scored twice in the same game was in February last year.
There was some good news for Lille, though, as its main rivals in the relegation fight also lost.
Troyes, sitting in 18th place just one point above the northern club, was handed whipped by Guingamp 4-0 while 17th-place Toulouse slumped at home to Dijon 1-0.
Last-place Metz hosts Lyon on Sunday.
TOKO EKAMBI SCORES AGAIN
Karl Toko Ekambi is one of the revelations of the league, with 17 goals to his name already.
The Angers forward scored in a 1-1 draw against Strasbourg. With Neymar (19 goals) still out injured, Toko Ekambi has a good chance of surpassing the Brazil star to finish the season in the scoring chart’s top three with Edinson Cavani (24) and Falcao (18).