Falcao stars as Monaco sweep past Strasbourg
Radamel Falcao scored twice and recorded an assist as AS Monaco returned to winning ways with a routine 3-0 defeat of struggling RC Strasbourg Alsace on Saturday.
AS Monaco 3-0 RC Strasbourg
With their UEFA Champions League opener at RB Leipzig weighing heavy in their legs and the Week 5 mauling they took at Côte d'Azur neighbours OGC Nice playing on their minds, Monaco were hoping a first Ligue 1 Conforama start for summer signing Stevan Jovetic would help ease them through.
The Montenegro international very nearly obliged with a delicious lob that struck the crossbar (8') before Falcao flashed a shot just past the top corner after Djibril Sidibé and Rachid Ghezzal had combined down the right (10').
Ghezzal, a summer arrival from Olympique Lyonnais, fired straight at Bingourou Kamara from distance (20') before Falcao played a cutely weighted pass into the run of Jovetic — Kamara's anticipation meant he was all but on the Monaco forward when the ex-Fiorentina and Manchester City man turned to fire goalwards from a tight angle (32').
Monaco's centre-back duo Kamil Glik and Jemerson had scored four times between them this season, as many goals as the entire Strasbourg team, but the visitors from Alsace should have had a fifth of the campaign on 34 minutes.
Monaco failed to deal with a corner, and Jean-Eudes Aholou looked destined to head home from inside the six-yard box. Perhaps the close proximity of his captain Kader Mangane put the Ivorian off, however, as he sent his effort over the bar.
Rony Lopes ensured last season's Ligue 2 champions would learn a lesson about the harsh realities of the top flight when he punished some slack defending a minute from the break, touching the ball over the line after Falcao had sent it across the face of goal (44').
The Monaco captain produced a similar finish after Jorge had moved down the left and pulled the ball back (51') to give the Colombia international forward his eighth of the season.
Half-time substitute Dimitri Liénard would have pulled one back with a driven, low free-kick but for Diego Benaglio, making his Ligue 1 Conforama debut in place of the injured Danijel Subasic (55').
Falcao then had the ball in the net again on the hour mark, but his strike was ruled out for offside — seven minutes later, there was no such reprieve for Strasbourg. When Mangane miscued his backpass, Falcao surged forward and smashed a crisp shot beyond Kamara (67').
Idriss Saadi and Aholou both threw themselves at a low Anthony Gonçalves cross in added time, but neither was able to connect to leave Strasbourg without a goal and a point in three league outings.
THE PLAYER: Radamel Falcao
At 31, the Monaco forward is as dangerous as ever in front of goal, and his immediate understanding with Jovetic bodes well for Jardim's men. It looks like it will be another bumper season for the champions' number nine.
THE STAT: 10
Falcao has had ten shots on target this season, nine of which have found the back of the net.