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Les Verts keep Champions League dream alive

Publish on 05/05/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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AS Saint-Etienne kept their Champions League dream alive on Sunday by coming from behind to win 3-2 at AS Monaco, who are still not safe from the threat of relegation.

AS Monaco  2 - 3  AS Saint-Etienne 

THE MATCH

The afternoon started well for Monaco on a sunny day at the Stade Louis II as they went ahead in the 18th minute thanks to Gelson Martins. The Portuguese winger controlled a long ball forward and found the far corner of the net from the right-hand side of the penalty box, with goalkeeper Stéphane Ruffier guilty of leaving the ball, clearly believing the shot was going wide.

Leonardo Jardim's side were the sharper of the two teams in the first half and almost doubled their lead in the 38th minute when William Saliba headed the ball against his own post from an Adrien Silva free-kick. However, the loss of goalkeeper Danijel Subasic to a hamstring injury in first-half stoppage time proved pivotal.

Monaco were forced to send on Seydou Sy, who had started in midweek in the 2-2 draw at Stade Rennais FC. He was beaten three times in the second half as the visitors came roaring back, themselves helped by the decision of their coach Jean-Louis Gasset to introduce Arnaud Nordin for Romain Hamouma at the interval.

Equaliser gifted

Before that, though, the hosts should have scored a second goal, as Kamil Glik headed against the bar from a Rony Lopes corner and Naldo somehow fired the rebound over the bar (54'). Instead, Monaco gifted an equaliser just before the hour mark when Fodé Ballo-Touré sliced the ball into his own net from a Rémy Cabella cross.

Les Verts went in front in the 71st minute as a Wahbi Khazri cross from the right was headed down by Loïc Perrin, Nordin's shot was blocked by one of his own teammates, but the ball came back to Cabella and he smashed in his eighth goal of the season.

The points were then made safe with 10 minutes to go as Cabella's cross was headed home by Nordin at the near post, although Monaco did pull another goal back in stoppage time as Martins' low delivery into the six-yard box was turned in by substitute Carlos Vinícius (90+2').

Saint-Etienne are France's form team, with six wins and a draw in their last seven games. This result effectively guarantees European qualification for them, and also means there is still every chance they could pip great rivals Olympique Lyonnais to a Champions League slot. In contrast, it is now six games without a win for Monaco, and they remain only three points above the bottom three.

THE PLAYER: Rémy Cabella

The French international played a huge part in Saint-Etienne's second-half comeback, making two goals and scoring another as Les Verts left with all three points.

THE STAT: 19

Saint-Etienne have now taken 19 points from the last 21 available. They are France's form team, and if they can keep it up they may be on for a first podium finish since 1982.