Teenage forward Moussa Sylla scored twice, including a last-gasp winner, as AS Monaco triumphed 2-1 at SM Caen on Sunday to remain on course for a top-three finish.
SM Caen 1-2 AS Monaco
Both sides came into the game in poor form: Caen winless in seven and looking nervously over their shoulders at the bottom three, just five points distant; Monaco had just one win in five league games, and had seen Olympique Lyonnais and Olympique de Marseille sneak up on them to make a race of it for second place.
Monaco were second-best in the early exchanges at the Stade Michel d'Ornano. Damien Da Silva's header had Danijel Subasic scrambling (5') and Jessy Deminguet fired in a volley straight at the Monaco 'keeper (8'), something Joao Moutinho did to Rémy Vercoutre at the opposite end (9').
The visitors went ahead rather against the run of play. There was lovely approach play from Rony Lopes, whose brilliant reverse ball sent Youri Tielemans in behind the back four. The Belgium international's shot hit a post and ricocheted off Moussa Sylla to give the 18-year-old Monaco youth academy teenager a maiden top-flight goal on his first Ligue 1 Conforama start (13').
An Andrea Raggi hit the side-netting as Monaco sought to extend their advantage (20'), but Caen then came back into the game. Ronny Rodelin might have done better than fire across goal when played in by Julien Féret (31').
Ivan Santini certainly did when a Vincent Bessat cross dropped to him and him expertly steered a volley into the top corner from just inside the box for a stylish 11th top-flight goal this season (40').
Rodelin shot over (46') as Caen raced out of the traps after the restart while Rony Lopes latched onto a quickly taken free-kick to force a smart stop from Vercoutre at the near post (52').
Romain Genevois' dismissal for pulling back Jordi Mboula, another Monaco youth academy graduate, 14 minutes from time made life difficult for Caen, and after a spell of pressure, Sylla volleyed home after a weak Vercoutre punch to leave the 2016/17 champions certain of a place in the top three with two games to go (90+1').
THE PLAYER: Moussa Sylla
Is this another Kylian Mbappé? The 18-year-old did not — his two goals aside — have a great game, but stood in effectively enough for Radamel Falcao and Stevan Jovetic.
THE STAT: 3rd
At 18 years and five months, Sylla is the third-youngest player to score a brace in one of Europe's top five leagues this season behind team-mate Pietro Pellegri and Hellas Verona's Moise Kean.