Pasalic strikes again to give Monaco win
By A. Scott
Mario Pasalic got the only goal of the game as AS Monaco claimed another welcome home win, beating FC Nantes 1-0 to climb into contention towards the top of the table.
AS Monaco 1 - 0 FC Nantes
The principality club have struggled at the Stade Louis II in recent times but a solitary Pasalic strike saw off Angers SCO in their last home outing and the Croatian midfielder again made the difference here with the deciding goal in the 43rd minute.
The victory allowed Leonardo Jardim's side to bounce back from a 3-1 loss at Girondins de Bordeaux in their last outing before the international break. They have now been beaten only once in 11 games in all competitions and move provisionally up to fifth place. In contrast, a third defeat in four league outings for Nantes left Les Canaris in 11th spot.
It was a wet and windy night in the principality, and there was a sombre mood before kick-off as the victims of the Paris terror attacks of November 13 were remembered with a rendition of the French national anthem and a moment's silence.
When play got underway, it was Nantes, chasing a second win on the Côte d'Azur this month following a recent success at Nice, who started in the more lively manner. They were first to seriously threaten midway through the first half when Léo Dubois teed up Jules Iloki for a shot that almost caught out Danijel Subasic down low at his near post.
Helder Costa was again starting for Monaco after marking his full Ligue 1 debut with a goal in the 3-1 defeat at Bordeaux. The young Portuguese turned Dubois inside out on the left before drilling a low ball across the face of goal that Guido Carrillo was unable to reach at the far post.
Monaco skipper Jérémy Toulalan, facing the club where he made his name, then combined with Pasalic to set up Bernardo Silva, whose initial effort was well saved by Rémy Riou before he put the follow-up wide.
Silva also threatened with a header before the opening goal arrived two minutes prior to the interval. Good build-up play ended with Almamy Touré crossing from the right and on-loan Chelsea midfielder Pasalic getting up to head home at the back post.
Monaco have had difficulties defensively this season but they were rarely troubled as they protected their lead in the second half and Subasic was able to claim a welcome clean sheet. Morocco striker Yacine Bammou and Kolbeinn Sigthórsson both missed the target in the second half, while Almamy Touré and substitute Lacina Traoré came closest to extending the home side's advantage.