Monaco won 4-1 away to Ajaccio in Ligue 1 on Saturday, meaning that the capital's top club Paris Saint-Germain must wait a little longer to secure their bid win a second consecutive league title.
All the goals came in the second half at the Stade Francois-Coty as Dimitar Berbatov continued his impressive recent form by scoring twice for the visitors before Gadji Tallo got one back.
Berbatov then set up another goal for Geoffrey Kondogbia, while Lucas Ocampos added the fourth late on as Monaco made it four successive league wins to all but guarantee second spot and automatic qualification for next season’s Champions League group stage.
Monaco are now 11 points clear of third-placed Lille, who have just four matches remaining, including Sunday’s home meeting with Bordeaux.
They are also seven points adrift of PSG, who must win away to relegation-threatened Sochaux on Sunday if they are to celebrate clinching the Ligue 1 crown this weekend. This keeps the pressure on the club from the French capital, as they will need to get three points to earn their fourth national title.
Laurent Blanc’s men will now have to beat the all-time record points tally in the French top flight in order to become champions this weekend, which says much about how well Claudio Ranieri’s Monaco have performed in their first season since winning promotion back to the top flight.
Play by play
It was not a vintage performance from the principality club in Corsica against opponents whose own relegation was confirmed last weekend, and there was little between the teams in the first half.
Home goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa saved well from a Joao Moutinho volley early on, while Danijel Subasic was called into action to deny Dennis Oliech at the other end.
Ivorian striker Tallo shot narrowly wide for the hosts shortly after the restart, but the opening goal arrived moments later when Moutinho played a left-wing corner short before getting the ball back and crossing for Berbatov to head home from close range.
It was his seventh goal for Monaco since joining the club from Fulham at the end of January and it was followed by another in the 74th minute.
This time the Bulgarian finished coolly from close range after latching onto a pass from James Rodriguez that undid the home offside trap.
Tallo got one back almost immediately, lashing the ball high into the net following a low cross from the right by Paul Lasne, but Monaco made sure of the victory with two late goals.
First Berbatov turned provider for Kondogbia to curl the ball home from 25 yards for his first Ligue 1 goal, and then Ocampos volleyed home a cross from fellow substitute Nabil Dirar in stoppage time.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2014-04-26