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Uh oh Monaco after defeat at Nîmes

Publish on 11/05/2019 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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AS Monaco are in serious danger of dropping into the Ligue 1 Conforama relegation zone after losing 1-0 at Nîmes Olympique on Saturday with Renaud Ripart's early goal the decisive moment.

 Nîmes Olympique 1-0 AS Monaco 

THE MATCH
There were just three points and one place between Monaco, last season's runners-up, and SM Caen, who were in the promotion/relegation play-off spot, at kick-off. Those positions remain the same, but Monaco are only out of the bottom three on goal difference — -19 to -20 — following Caen's 3-2 win at home to Stade de Reims and their defeat.

Monaco had not lost to Nîmes since July 1978, but Bernard Blaquart's men have been a testing proposition at home this season, and the visitors from the principality soon found out why.

Winless in their last six league outings, Leonardo Jardim's men were on the back foot when Ripart headed home Sada Thioub's cross (9') to give Nîmes, who had taken 17 of a possible 21 points from their last seven home matches, an ominous early lead.

Miraculous Benaglio

Adrien Silva saw a promising shot turned away by Paul Bernardoni (12') as Monaco sought a rapid response, and Kamil Glik then forced a brilliant save from the Nîmes 'keeper with a header from a Rony Lopes corner (36') as Nîmes clung grimly to their advantage.

A Thioub piledriver brought an equally good stop from Diego Benaglio (38'), but Monaco continued pressing, and only another Bernardoni save — from Gelson Martins this time — prevented them levelling soon after the break (50').

Savanier, who has scored six times and delivered 12 assists this season, sent a free-kick worryingly close (65') before Ripart passed up a great opportunity to give his team margin for error — he lost a one-on-one duel with Benaglio and saw the Swiss miraculously parry his headed follow-up (68').

Thioub hit the crossbar as Nîmes counter-attacked effecitively in the closing stages (90') to leave Monaco, who host Amiens SC and then go to local rivals OGC Nice on the final day of the season, in very choppy waters.

THE PLAYER: Paul Bernardoni
While Savanier has taken a number of plaudits, plenty should be spared for the on-loan Bordeaux goalkeeper, who has been a key factor in Nîmes highly successful season. He proved his worth again here, and will be sorely missed if — as expected — he's not at Nîmes again next season.

THE STAT: 15
Nîmes have now won 15 times this season, equalling their most recent best from the 1979/80 campaign. They had failed to win more than nine times in their previous four top-flight seasons.