Falcao scores as Monaco beat Bordeaux 2-0
PARIS (AP) — Monaco’s expensively assembled side left it late but earned a 2-0 win at Bordeaux in the French league on Saturday, as star signing Radamel Falcao scored on his debut.
Claudio Ranieri’s side appeared to be heading to a draw in its first match back in the top flight, but substitute Emmanuel Riviere took advantage of a mistake by Bordeaux defender Marc Planus to score eight minutes from time and Falcao sealed the result five minutes later.
“The two goals were important but I think it’s too early to talk about anything else,” Ranieri said. “I was very curious to see my team against Bordeaux, which is a good team, with players who are reliable, strong and important, and who play a good, counterattacking football.
“It is a good start for Monaco, because it is the first match in Ligue 1 against a strong team. The first half was very good, the second was 50-50 but at the end Riviere made the difference. I want to wait until the other matches against other teams to see how we manage to play.”
Monaco is level on points with defending champion Paris Saint-Germain — which drew 1-1 at Montpellier on Friday — after starting the season with a two-point deduction.
The French federation is currently deliberating Monaco’s appeal against the penalty, which saw the club deducted points after trouble flared at its final home game last season.
Despite being one of the three promoted sides, Monaco is widely expected to be the closest challenger to PSG this season. However, its return to the top flight almost started poorly as Bordeaux went close to taking an early lead, but new signing Ricardo Carvalho did enough to put off Henri Saivet, who fired over from close range.
Monaco started to get into its stride and could have gone in front in the 22nd minute but Ocampos’ powerful effort struck the outside of the right post.
The visitors had another good chance six minutes later as James Rodriguez did well to force his way into the area and carve out space for a shot but Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso pulled off a reflex save to push the ball over the crossbar.
Bordeaux improved in the second half and had several chances to take the lead. Saivet shot wide of the right upright from a difficult angle early on, and Jaroslav Plasil’s shot just whistled past the left post.
The home side was left to rue those missed opportunities as Monaco took the lead in the 82nd minute. Riviere — who had only come on 10 minutes earlier — made the most of a mistake by Planus to bring down an aerial ball and prod it into the bottom right corner.
Another defensive mistake shortly afterward allowed Falcao to beat Bordeaux’s Ludovic Sane to Lucas Ocampos’ cross and seal the match. The goal prompted wild celebrations from Falcao, who was signed from Atletico Madrid in an offseason deal worth an estimated 60 million euros ($79 million).
Fellow promoted side Nantes also won 2-0, against Bastia, in a bad-tempered match which saw both sides reduced to 10 men.
Nantes took a deserved lead in the 23rd minute when Filip Dordevic fired in a brilliant pass from strike partner Serge Gakpe.
Bastia was camped out in its own half but was given hope when Nantes midfielder Jordan Veretout was sent off with 25 minutes remaining after picking up two yellow cards. However, Bastia was also reduced to 10 men five minutes later when striker Ilan was sent off for a foul on Birama Toure.
Bastia midfielder Julian Palmieri scored an own goal in stoppage time.
Lyon, which finished third in the league last season, cruised to a 4-0 victory over Nice — which it only narrowly beat to a place in the Champions League playoff round.
Alexandre Lacazette scored twice, either side of Clement Grenier’s headed goal, before Yoann Gourcuff finished off a brilliant night for the home side.
Toulouse saw its campaign get off to a dreadful start as it lost 3-0 at Valenciennes.
There was a moment of controversy in the opening goal as Uros Spajic was sent off following a foul on Valenciennes’ Rudy Mater, when the challenge appeared to have come from fellow Toulouse defender Steeve Yago.
Maor Melikson tucked away the resulting penalty before second-half goals from Jose Saez and Gregory Pujol.
Lille beat 10-man Lorient thanks to a 13th-minute strike from Divock Origi. Lorient defender Lamine Gassama was sent off seven minutes from time for a second booking.
Rennes won 2-1 at home to Reims. Vincent Pajot and Mevlut Erding scored for the home team, either side of Grzegorz Krychowiak’s equalizer.
Evian and Sochaux — which narrowly relegation last season — drew 1-1. Roy Contout leveled for Sochaux after Fabrice Ehret’s fourth-minute opener.