Monaco blast way to top spot
By D. Crossan
Monaco rampaged to the top of the Ligue 1 table for the first time since Week 5 as they swept aside Olympique de Marseille 4-1 at the Orange Vélodrome.
Olympique de Marseille 1-4 AS Monaco
Stylish Monaco ended OM's winning run in Ligue 1 at four matches and sent out a signal to Nice, whom they deposed at the top, and reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain. OM had conceded but a single goal at home prior to this encounter, yet Rudi Garcia's men were left helpless against Monaco's relentless attack as they fell to their first home defeat of the league campaign.
Rémy Cabella had the first chance for Marseille in the fifth minute and fired straight at Danijel Subasic. Bafétimbi Gomis, back from suspension, headed the rebound over the bar.
Ten minutes later Monaco were in front and it owed everything to the talent of Thomas Lemar. The wide midfielder escaped Hiroki Sakai, looked up, and delicately lifted the ball over Yohann Pelé from what seemed to be an impossible angle.
Monaco had crushed OM 4-0 when the clubs met in November and were halfway to that scoreline in the 21st minute when a swift counter-attack was concluded by a superbly confident clipped finish from Radamel Falcao that bamboozled Pelé.
The entertainment was unrelenting and two minutes later Cabella's diving header from a wicked Sakai cross was marginally wide. Gomis had the ball in the net soon after that though the goal was chalked off for offside.
Before the half-hour Marseille had a lifeline as Rolando headed in a Maxime Lopez free-kick from the left, beating Jemerson in the air. Djibril Sidibé, playing left-back with former OM man Benjamin Mendy suspended, had a glorious opportunity before half-time. Clean through, the French international couldn't beat Pelé.
The third Monaco goal did come before the interval as Almamy Touré crossed from the right and the unmarked Bernardo Silva arrived at pace to head home emphatically. Silva was on target again in the 57th minute, picking his spot after Pelé saved from Fabinho.
It could have been more and Pelé produced an outstanding stop to keep out a Valère Germain attempt.
THE PLAYER: Radamel Falcao
The Colombian international forward has scored 12 goals in 14 Ligue 1 appearances this term.
THE STAT: 60
Four goals here took Monaco to 60 for the season, an average of three goals per game.