French League roundup: Monaco slump to second consecutive loss

Monaco, which lost 2-1 to leader Paris Saint-Germain last weekend and is already out of the Champions League, was again a shadow of the team that reached the semifinals of Europe's top competition last season.
French League Source: AP
Reported by: AP Paris November 30, 2017 16:31 IST

Monaco's season took another turn for the worse when the defending champions slumped to a 1-0 loss at Nantes in the French league on Wednesday.
Monaco, which lost 2-1 to leader Paris Saint-Germain last weekend and is already out of the Champions League, was again a shadow of the team that reached the semifinals of Europe's top competition last season.

The visitors lacked imagination and had just one shot on target as their winless streak extended to four games in all competitions.

Leonardo Jardim's players looked to be heading for a disappointing draw but failed to bring a point back from their trip to western France after Brazilian substitute Lucas Lima scored in stoppage time. Diego Carlos fired a free kick straight into Monaco's wall, the ball took a deflection and landed in the path of Lima, who slotted home with a powerful strike.

Monaco sold several players over the summer and had to cope with the departure of striker Kylian Mbappe to PSG. Midfielder Bernardo Silva, left back Benjamin Meny and defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko were among the others to leave, and Jardim has yet to find a new winning formula.

Monaco dropped to fourth place, 12 points behind PSG, while Nantes moved within three points of the Top 3.

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Without the support of its hardcore fans for the home game against Troyes, Paris Saint-Germain struggled to find a way past the visitors' defence and needed Neymar to provide a goal and an assist for a 2-0 victory. The hardcore Auteuil stand was shut at the Parc des Princes, as the club served a one-match ban after its fans used flares last month.

On the pitch, PSG coach Unai Emery rotated his players for the midweek game and his side appeared unbalanced in midfield until Kylian Mbappe and Adrien Rabiot came on.

PSG looked set to take the lead when Edinson Cavani earned a penalty after he was fouled by Karim Azamoum in the 41st minute. Neymar agreed to let the Uruguay forward take the spot kick, two months after the two men had argued over who should take a penalty during a 2-0 win against Lyon.

However, Troyes goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa guessed the right way and made the save.

Neymar finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute with a left-foot shot at the far post. Cavani then made amends for the missed penalty in the 90th minute with his 17th league goal this season from Neymar's assist.
The win lifted PSG 10 points clear of Marseille at the top of the standings.

MARSEILLE ON THE UP

Florian Thauvin scored one goal and created another as Marseille won 3-0 at struggling Metz, extending its unbeaten run to 10 league matches and climbing to second place in the standings. It has been a remarkable turnaround for the nine-time champion, which seemed set for a club crisis in August after being thrashed 6-1 by Monaco and losing 3-1 at home to Rennes, a defeat that provoked the ire of the club's notoriously demanding fans.

Midfielder Luiz Gustavo and Thauvin have been key elements of Rudi Garcia's team in recent weeks and were decisive again in Metz.

Thauvin, who has scored seven goals and provided five assists this season, put the visitors ahead in the 18th minute with a beautiful solo goal. The France international sped down the right flank then cut inside and unleashed a left-foot shot in the top right corner.

Thauvin then turned provider in the 36th when he crossed to Gustavo at the far post for the Brazilian player to score with a neat finish. Lucas Ocampos completed the victory in the 72nd minute.

LYON UPSET BY STRUGGLING LILLE

Struggling Lille made the most of Lyon's defensive frailties to earn a 2-1 victory, its fourth win this season. Nabil Fekir missed a penalty for the hosts.

Without a coach following Marcelo Bielsa's suspension, Lille ended Lyon's eight-match unbeaten run in the league with goals from Thiago Mendes and Ezequiel Ponce. Mendes and Ponce were helped by slack defending on both goals.

Mariano Diaz scored an equalizer for Lyon.

OTHER RESULTS

Montpellier, which has the league's best defence with eight goals conceded, produced another clean sheet in a 0-0 draw at Guingamp, Rennes won 2-1 at Angers and Mario Balotelli scored from the spot as Nice prevailed 2-1 at Toulouse despite Dante's sending off in the first half. Bassem Srarfi came off the bench to snatch the winner in added time.

 
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