Monaco survive despite derby loss
By D. Crossan
Nice recorded a third straight home success against 2017 champions Monaco, winning 2-0 to finish seventh in the table in Patrick Vieira's first season in charge.
OGC Nice 2-0 AS Monaco
For Monaco to end up in 18th required an improbable course of events as it needed Caen to win big at home to Bordeaux, Amiens to beat Guingamp and Monaco to fall heavily at Nice. In the end Caen falling to Bordeaux ensured Monaco survived and finished the season in 17th place.
The Principality club have extensive rebuilding to do in the summer, though they certainly had the opportunities to claim at least a point at their local rivals. Cesc Fabregas headed an Aleksandr Golovin corner against the crossbar (12') and then Walter Benitez made a double save from Fabregas and Gelson Martins (17').
Djibril Sidibé, left out of the France squad for games next month, was next to spurn a presentable chance (19'), soon followed by Radamel Falcao (33') as the Monaco captain should have done much better unmarked. Linked with a move to former club Atlético Madrid and Valencia for next season, Falcao refused to confirm he'd still be a Monaco player in 2019-2020.
Nice took the lead despite having failed to manage a shot on target when 18-year-old Benoît Badiashile (36') turned a Youcef Atal right-wing cross into his own net. Starting for the first time in over a month after a calf problem, Fabregas could have had a hat-trick and Benitez saved well from him (56').
Kamil Glik almost made it a second own goal (63') before Sidibé conceded a penalty (64') for tripping Allan Saint-Maximin. Mickaël Le Bihan took it emphatically and the power took it beyond Diego Benaglio, who had gone the right way. It ensured Vieira's debut campaign finished on a high note.
THE PLAYER: Mickaël Le Bihan
The 29-year-old has been plagued by injury throughout his Nice career and his goal from the spot was his first in over two years. The former Le Havre forward will now hope for an injury-free run to stake his claim to be the regular scorer Nice have sorely lacked this season. Les Aiglons only managed 30 goals all season with joint-top scorers Allan Saint-Maximin and Youcef Atal managing six apiece.
THE STAT: 16
Walter Benitez kept 16 Ligue 1 Conforama clean sheets this season, the most of any goalkeeper.