Week 33 review: Falcao fires to keep Monaco clear

Ligue 1 Conforama > News

By S. Willis

Following Paris' 2-0 win in Angers, Monaco were under pressure but captain Radamel Falcao fire in the 2-1 victory over Dijon; SC Bastia closer to the drop after their clash at home to Lyon was abandoned due to crowd disturbances.

Although leaders Monaco fell behind to relegation-threatened Dijon on Saturday night, club captain and Colombia international Radamel Falcao stepped up to the plate with his 18th goal of the season (81') to complete a comeback started by Nabil Dirar (69') and keep the principality on track for their first Ligue 1 title since season 1999-00.

"It was difficult. We know it's not easy to play after a Champions League match," admitted Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim, who will be counting on the Colombian to fire in the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie with Dortmund following a 2-1 win in Germany. "Falcao gave our attack a clinical edge. Falcao is a striker of great quality. After a month out, he's played 90 minutes twice. It was a little difficult. Now, the priority is to eat well, sleep well, recover well."

PSG pressure

The comeback from Cédric Varrault's opener (42') was exactly what Jardim's men needed to pull clear of Paris Saint-Germain after the capital club had drawn provisionally level on points with a 2-0 win in Angers on Friday night.

"It was a difficult match here in Angers with the game their team put forward. We're happy with the three points, happy with the match the team played, very serious. The team was well prepared, well focused," said PSG boss Unai Emery, whose team will play their postponed Week 31 clash in Metz on Tuesday. "We worked well on things that the opposing team put forward. I have to congratulate the players who played how they had to to keep up the pressure in a difficult league. Competition is positive for the league, but very difficult for us."

Trouble on the Isle of Beauty

Meanwhile third-placed OGC Nice stayed in the title race with a 3-1 win over Nancy, Jean Michael Seri bagging a brace to complete the comeback after Maurice Dale had drawn first blood for the visitors at the Allianz Riviera. The result all but assured Les Aiglons of at least third place - and the Champions League qualifying round berth that goes with it - but things are looking a bit hazier for fourth-placed Lyon who, after a crowd troubled marred their 2-1 Europa League quarter-final first leg at home to Besiktas, were once again caught up in controversy.

OL were looking for a three-point haul in Corsica to consolidate fourth place - Bordeaux and Marseille are breathing down their necks - but their match in Bastia was abandoned when - after kick-off had been delayed for 50 minutes following a pitch invasion - spectators stormed the pitch and attacked Lyon players as the half-time whistle blew. The LFP's Disciplinary Commission will examine the dossier on Thursday.

OM strike blow in battle for Europe

Thus, OL now have a match in hand - whether the match is replayed or an administrative victory awarded - but are just two points clear of fifth-placed Bordeaux, for whom Younousse Sankharé notched the lone strike in a 1-0 win in Nantes and three ahead of Marseille, who roared to life as they hosted Saint-Etienne in what could turn out to have been a European six-pointer.

OM were undefeated in five outings but their run of three draws in a row had coach Rudi Garcia calling for better, and the ex-Roma coach got his wish on Sunday night as star forward Florian Thauvin bagged a brace - with Bafétimbi Gomis and Dimitri Payet also chipping in for a 4-0 win. 

"It was an accomplished performance and we controlled the match well, aside from five minutes at the end of the first half. It's good for our goal difference and we beat a direct rival for a Europe even though they do have a match in hand," said Garcia, referring to ASSE's Week 3q1 clash with Monaco, postponed due to the principality club's appearance in the Coupe de la Ligue final. "This was an important match and we took a good hard look at ourselves. We have five matches to play over the next five weeks, and if we can keep playing the way we did tonight, we will certainly have something to smile about."

Thriller in Metz

Meanwhile, EA Guingamp bounced back from defeat to PSG with a 2-1 win at home to Toulouse, while Brittany rivals Rennes got back to winning ways with a 2-0 shutout of Franck Passi's LOSC - just a second league win since Week 16 for Christian Gourcuff's side.

Montpellier put paid to resurgent Lorient's three-match winning run 2-0 at the Stade de la Mosson on Saturday while FC Metz and SM Caen drew 2-2 with Ronny Rodelin clinching a share of the points for the Normandy side late on after giant Malian striker Cheick Diabaté though he had hit the winner (83').


>> VIDEO: Official match highlights of all the Week 33 action

>> Week 33 reactions - Garcia: 'Something to smile about'



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