Monaco drops point in title race after drawing 1-1 at Bastia
By JEROME PUGMIRE
Feb. 17, 2017
PARIS (AP) — Perhaps with one eye on the Champions League, league leader Monaco dropped points in the French title race after drawing 1-1 away to struggling Bastia on Friday.
Monaco needed a second-half header from Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva, after Guinean forward Sadio Diallo gave the home side the lead with a first-half goal validated by goal line technology.
Although the draw moved Monaco four points clear, defending champion Paris Saint-Germain can trim the lead to one by beating Toulouse at home on Sunday.
Monaco, which travels to play Manchester City in the first leg of their round of 16 match on Tuesday, started slowly against Bastia.
The Corsican side deservedly took the lead in the 19th minute when Monaco's defense was caught out by a deep cross to the back post and forward Sadio Diallo's close-range header was ruled to have crossed the line by referee Clement Turpin, thanks to goal line technology.
Monaco ended the half well, however, with Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho and striker Radamel Falcao having shots saved by Bastia goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca.
Silva equalized in the 52nd, timing his run to head past Leca from close range to extend Monaco's unbeaten run to 12 games.
Monaco, which has netted 108 goals in all competitions, had late chances with substitute Kylian Mbappe twice going close and midfielder Thomas Lemar blazing over.
Bastia remained in 19th place.
Toulouse must be dreading its trip to Paris, given PSG's brilliant midweek performance when routing Barcelona 4-0 in the Champions League.
PSG has won 11 of its last 12 games, scoring 38 goals and conceding only four.
Having been sidelined with a fever last weekend, Italian striker Mario Balotelli is in the squad for third-place Nice's trip to play last-place Lorient.
Nice is two points behind PSG, but has a healthy 13 points advantage over Lyon in the race for a place in next season's Champions League qualifying round.
Lyon, which has played a game less, is at home to Dijon on Sunday.