Monaco are the Ligue 1 champions
AS Monaco clinched the Ligue 1 title on Wednesday after a 2-0 win over AS Saint-Etienne that earned the club its first French top-flight crown in 17 years with a game to spare.
AS Monaco 2-0 AS Saint-Etienne
Given they needed just a point from the match at the Stade Louis II to ensure Paris Saint-Germain could no longer catch them and deprive the capital club of the title they had won in the previous four seasons, it was perhaps unsurprising Monaco were uncharacteristically nervous.
They might have paid for their timid start against a team with more confidence and more to play for than Saint-Etienne, trounced 5-0 by PSG on Sunday, even if they needed a fine recovery challenge from Benjamin Mendy to deny Arnaud Nordin the first clear sight of goal (16').
That scare woke Monaco, who had unfussily seen off LOSC Lille 4-0 in Week 37 to ease to within touching distance of their grail. Kylian Mbappé's fierce right-foot shot brought a save from Stéphane Ruffier (18'), who was then beaten by the teenage prodigy less than 60 seconds later.
Modern era record
Joao Moutinho won back possession and fed Fabinho, who in turn found Radamel Falcao. The Colombia international's ball for Mbappé enabled the youngster to burst clear of the visiting back four — deprived of their injured captain Loïc Perrin — and round Ruffier before scoring his 15th L1 goal of the season (19').
The strike was Monaco's 103rd of the league season, taking them past the tally PSG racked up last term to set a new modern era record. Only Stade de Reims (109) and RC Paris (118), both in a prolific 1959-60 season, have ever scored more.
Mbappé's pace wide on the left earned him the space to cross for Falcao, whose volley was bravely blocked by Florentin Pogba (31') before the muscular centre-back forced a stop from Danijel Subasic with a glancing header to a Jordan Veretout cross (34') at the opposite end.
A Falcao header brought a sharp parry from Ruffier with Léo Lacroix cleaning up the loose ball (52') before a Nordin raid took him away from Fabinho and past Jemerson only for Subasic to deny him what would have been a fine individual goal (55').
Les Verts clearly had in mind thoughts of making amends for coach Christophe Galtier's last home outing having been ruined by the reigning champions by pooping the party planned by the future title-holders as they threatened.
Henri Saivet's ball over the top released Veretout, who went beyond the advancing Subasic only to be halted by Kamil Glik, who had charged back to dispossess the Saint-Etienne midfielder (61') just when he was poised to equalise.
Valère Germain, who came off the substitutes' bench for Bernardo Silva 20 minutes from time, should have given Monaco breathing space at the end of a counter-attack led by Mbappé and Falcao. At point-blank range unmarked at the back post, the striker somehow contrived to miss the target (74').
He made amends deep into added time, finding the net with virtually the last kick of the game to spark the title celebrations in the sort of style they have accustomed their fans to throughout a spectacular, league-winning campaign.
THE PLAYER: Kylian Mbappé
Could it have been anyone else? Collectively, it has been Monaco's season, but individually, the teenager has stolen the show. The prospect of just how good he might be next season means the wait for the 2017-18 campaign will seem like a long one.
THE STAT: 15
Mbappé has been involved in 15 goals in his last 13 Ligue 1 games, scoring 12 times.