Falcao at the double as Monaco power on
By D. Crossan
Radamel Falcao scored twice as Monaco swept aside Côte d'Azur rivals Nice 3-0 to move three points clear at the top of the table.
Monaco avenged their 4-0 loss at Nice last September in style as they eased clear in the second half, rounding off a crucial week in the Ligue 1 title race in victorious fashion and inflicting Nice's first loss in 11 league games, only their second of the season.
Monaco came into the encounter as the top scorers in the major European leagues but Nice proved they didn't have the best defensive record in the French top flight for nothing as they shut Monaco out in a first half of great intensity. Monaco did have the three shots on target of the opening 45 minutes and Yoan Cardinale distinguished himself with a save from Bernardo Silva, the scorer of the equaliser at Paris Saint-Germain last week, in the 36th minute.
The principality club made the breakthrough in the 48th minute, just after Cardinale had produced a fine stop to keep out a Thomas Lemar swerver. The Nice goalkeeper could do nothing as Benjamin Mendy broke free down the left and provided the perfect cross for Valère Germain to head home. The forward didn't celebrate against the club he scored 14 times for in Ligue 1 on loan last term.
On the hour Monaco moved further clear and again Mendy was the provider, this time picking out leading scorer Radamel Falcao with a low ball across the face. There was no way the Colombian international was going to miss.
Nice brought on Younes Belhanda, back from a broken toe, as they chased the game and began to enjoy more pressure without threatening Danijel Subasic. Falcao put the seal on it with his 14th Ligue 1 goal of the season as Monaco made it 68 league goals in 23 matches. The forward's movement was the key this time as he checked out, deceiving Dante, and Lemar cut the ball back for Falcao to stroke left footed into the corner.
Subasic saved well from an Alassane Plea header and Monaco youth product Valentin Eysseric struck a post as Nice were denied even an equaliser. Monaco travel to Montpellier on Tuesday and Nice entertain Saint-Etienne the following day.
THE PLAYER: Radamel Falcao
The 30-year-old has collected his goals at a rate of one every 79 minutes and this was his fourth double or better of the season.
THE STAT: 100
Monaco have scored 100 goals in all competitions this season, in 38 matches.