Monaco pile misery on Saint-Etienne
Djibril Sidibé was among the scorers as AS Monaco romped to a 4-0 victory away to troubled AS Saint-Etienne, who ended the game at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard with 10 men.
AS Saint-Etienne 0 - 4 AS Monaco
Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim made eight changes to his starting line-up from the 2-0 Coupe de la Ligue victory against SM Caen 72 hours earlier. Sidibé was one of those to earn a recall and he put the visitors in front inside three minutes, following in to score with a fine right-foot strike after Keita Baldé's effort had been blocked (3').
Radamel Falcao tested Stéphane Ruffier in the home goal as Monaco continued to push forward and it was only a matter of time before the reigning Ligue 1 Conforama champions added to their lead. The second goal came just after the half-hour mark, Thomas Lemar collecting a Baldé pass on the edge of the area and escaping the attentions of three Saint-Etienne defenders before lashing a low left-foot strike beyond Ruffier (32').
A much-changed home line-up included Rémy Cabella, who was making his first start in almost two months after injury. But Les Verts were being over-run and only a good Ruffier stop prevented Baldé from increasing Monaco's advantage early in the second half (52').
Ruffier sent off
The third goal arrived shortly after and that was the moment that really killed off Saint-Etienne. Ruffier did well to save when Falcao, inside the six-yard box, helped on a Rony Lopes shot, but Fabinho was on hand to turn in the rebound for his third league goal of the campaign. Ruffier was then sent off, receiving a straight red card for his protests to the officials that the goal was offside (53').
Fabinho then won possession back inside the Saint-Etienne half and set up Baldé to complete the rout, finishing past substitute goalkeeper Jessy Moulin (61'). It is the fifth time this season that Monaco have scored at least four goals in a Ligue 1 Conforama game, and this was their third win in a week in all competitions.
While they are now certain to end the weekend on the podium with nearest rivals Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille playing each other on Sunday, Saint-Etienne are now nine league games without a win.
THE PLAYER: Keita Baldé
Baldé was preferred to Guido Carrillo up front despite the Argentine having netted three times in the previous two games. And the former Lazio forward delivered, setting up one goal and scoring another, his fourth league goal of the campaign and also his first since early November.
THE STAT: 6
Julien Sablé is the first Saint-Etienne coach to fail to win any of his first six top-flight games in charge. He has collected just two points from a possible 18, with Les Verts scoring just four goals and conceding 16 in that time.