Falcao hits hat-trick as Monaco steam to top
By I. Holyman
Radamel Falcao scored three times as AS Monaco swept to a 4-0 victory over Girondins de Bordeaux on Saturday, and took Leonardo Jardim's men top of the Ligue 1 table.
Girondins de Bordeaux 0-4 AS Monaco
Knowing leaders OGC Nice had to travel to third-placed Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, Monaco quickly seized the opportunity to close the three-point gap to their Côte d'Azur neighbours and move ahead of them on goal difference, wasting no time after kick-off had been delayed 30 minutes due to crowd congestion.
On their first foray forward, they brought up their half-century of goals for the top-flight season thanks to Djibril Sidibé. The France international full-back hared forward to get on the end of Bernardo Silva's finely-weighted pass to shoot across Jérôme Prior and into the far corner just two minutes in.
Making a mockery of the fact they have traditionally struggled against Les Girondins, Monaco took just three more minutes to double their lead.
After a Bordeaux attack was broken up deep in their half, Monaco burst forward through Bernardo, who then found Valère Germain on the right. His cross was tailormade for a striker, but it was Prior's touch onto Falcao that meant the ball ended in the net. It was a fortuitous way for the Colombia international to score his sixth in as many league outings and his eighth overall in L1 this term.
Prior atoned with a brilliant one-handed stop to paw away a Bernardo curler that appeared destined to make it 3-0 (12'), and thwarted Germain with a full-length leap to his right to push the Monaco forward's goalbound header to safety as the first half drew to a close (42').
Bordeaux, who had won their last three home encounters with Monaco in all competitions scoring ten goals in the process, provided little threat to Danijel Subasic in the visitors' goal, though the Croatia international did have to rush from his net to close down Adam Ounas after he had broken through, blocking the Bordeaux youngster's low shot (31').
A more promising spell before the break might have given the hosts hope they could retrieve the situation, but Falcao ruthlessly snuffed out that ambition five minutes after the restart. Thomas Lemar broke forward before picking out Germain with a delightful crossfield ball - the first-time cross from his strike partner found Falcao, who deftly rounded Prior before firing home despite the attentions of Grégory Sertic.
The Colombia international was gifted the chance to complete his hat-trick when Nicolas Pallois' frustration got the better of him and he wrestled Bernardo to the ground. After initially only booking the Bordeaux defender, referee Benoît Bastien pointed to the spot - Falcao did not need a second invitation.
Ounas' rash kick out at Sidibé earned him a straight red card (69') before substitute Guido Carrillo, who had replaced Falcao, sent a shot wide - Prior, wrongfooted, watched it flash by his goal with relief as Bordeaux escaped by a whisker the five-goal drubbing Monaco had inflicted on SC Bastia in their last Ligue 1 game.
THE PLAYER: Radamel Falcao
His opening goal might have been lucky, but the second was taken with all the class he showed before his serious knee injury of January 2014. El Tigre is back.
THE STAT: 53
Monaco have scored 53 goals this season - Paris Saint-Germain and Nice are the next-highest scorers in Ligue 1 with 30.