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Lopes on fire as Monaco seal second

Publish on 19/05/2018 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Rony Lopes scored twice (22', 71') as AS Monaco secured second place - and with it automatic UEFA Champions League qualification - with a 3-0 win at ESTAC Troyes.

 ESTAC Troyes 0-3 AS Monaco 

THE MATCH

Last season's Ligue 1 Conforama champions Monaco began the day knowing that all they had to do was match Olympique Lyonnais' and Olympique de Marseille's results - against OGC Nice and Amiens SC respectively - in order to finish the season as Paris Saint-Germain's nearest challengers, yet it was Troyes who threated first, with on-loan Porto striker Suk Hyun-jun seeing an effort deflected wide by Jemerson (3'). Moussa Sylla attempted to return fire at the other end soon after, but Erwin Zelazny proved equal to the teenager's shot (6'). Zelazny then kept Youri Tielemans at bay when the Belgian got on the end of a Thomas Lemar cross (17') but Leonardo Jardim's men kept pouring forward and deservedly broke the deadlock midway through the half with Lopes reacting quickest to Tielemans' parried shot to steer home (21'). Lemar nearly got his own name on the scoresheet at the end of the half with a rasping shot from the edge of the box, but Zelazny made another save (44') and the sides went in for half-time with the scores at 1-0

Monaco make sure

Zelazny has been at Troyes since the summer of 2016 but played second fiddle to Mamadou Samassa until the start of this year. Recent performances make that fact seem barely fathomable now, and he pulled off a fantastic double save to deny Lopes and then Sylla early in the second half (52'). There was nothing he could do about Monaco's second goal, though. With Troyes going in search of an equaliser, Monaco hit them with a counter-attack which Lopes capped off with a low drive to seal his 15th goal of the French league season (71'). Lopes went from taker to near-maker late on, but after finding Radamel Falcao in the Troyes box he could only watch on as the Colombian, and then Lemar on the follow up, were denied by Zelazny (88'). There was still time for Jordi Mboula to add gloss to the scoreline, though, with the former Barcelona youngster steering the goal of the game into Zelazny's top corner (90+3') to conclude the scoring at 3-0.

THE PLAYER: Rony Lopes

Zelazny deserves high praise for his string of saves but Lopes was simply irrepressible. The Portugal winger never got a chance at English Premier League champions Manchester City after graduating from their youth academy in 2013, but the 22-year-old looks fit to grace any team in the game when he plays like this.

THE STAT: 21

Monaco were utterly dominant at the Stade de l'Aube, with 21 shots on Zelazny's goal compared to Troyes' 12 on Danijel Subasic's.