Ligue 1: Monaco win again, now five points clear in title race
PARIS (AP) French league leader Monaco prepared for its Champions League showdown with Manchester City by beating Bordeaux 2-1, a win overshadowed by an injury to top scorer Radamel Falcao on Saturday.
Falcao, who has 24 goals this season, went to ground clutching his ribs late on after a heavy challenge from Bordeaux defender Nicolas Pallois.
The striker got back up, only to go straight down to his knees again. Although he did not need the stretcher that went on for him, preferring to hobble off, it was unclear if the injury will rule him out of Wednesday’s last-16 return leg.
“He received a violent blow to his right side,” coach Leonardo Jardim said. “I hope it’s not serious.”
Monaco’s win moved it five points clear of Nice and - although Monaco’s formidable goal tally reached 123 this season - it was a labored win against a resilient side chasing a place in the Europa League.
Teenage striker Kylian Mbappe pounced midway through the second half with his fourth goal in three games and midfielder Joao Moutinho scored a brilliant curling shot.
After good work from Falcao, the 18-year-old Mbappe finished with a crisp low shot from just inside the penalty area in the 68th minute for his 16th goal of the season.
Six minutes later, Moutinho collected a pass from Portuguese compatriot Bernardo Silva some 25 meters out to the right of the penalty area and curled a superb first-time shot into the top left without breaking stride.
“I saw it coming, but it was magnificent. The ball dipped at the last moment,” Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso said. “Sometimes you just have to appreciate a great goal.”
Moutinho’s goals for Monaco are as rare as they are for Portugal, and this was only his eighth in 117 league games.
Next week in the Champions League, Monaco has to overturn a 5-3 deficit from the first leg to advance, and will need goalkeeper Danijel Subasic to start concentrating again.
He let in a sloppy goal against City three weeks ago and an even worse one on Saturday - gifting Bordeaux a lifeline with six minutes left.
After a Monaco attack broke down, Bordeaux hopefully lofted the ball forward. There was no immediate danger as defender Jemerson collected the ball near the halfway line. But his hurried back pass was under-hit and forced Subasic to come out of the area to clear it.
But the goalkeeper waited too long. When he did clear, the ball struck Bordeaux striker Diego Rolan and then bounced back off Subasic’s face into the path of Rolan, who ran through and tapped into an empty net.
Jardim refused to criticize him.
“I said to Suba: `How many important saves have you made for us?’” Jardim said. “A lot, so stop thinking about it.”
Monaco is six points clear of third-placed Paris Saint-Germain. The defending champion travels to last-placed Lorient on Sunday.
There were plenty of goals elsewhere.
Guingamp moved up to eighth place with different scorers on target in a 5-0 home romp against relegation candidate Bastia.
Striker Emiliano Sala netted a last-minute winner as Nantes won at Montpellier 3-2 to move up to 10th.
Another late winner from midfielder Rony Lopes earned Lille a 2-1 win at Nancy, easing the club’s relegation fears. But Nancy dropped to 18th.
Ninth-placed Rennes drew 1-1 at home to Dijon.