Monaco gets ready for Juventus with 3-1 win over Toulouse
PARIS (AP) — Monaco warmed up for its Champions League semifinal against Juventus with a 3-1 win over Toulouse to move three points clear of Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the French league on Saturday.
Teenage striker Kylian Mbappe, the new wonder of French football, scored his 14th league goal this season.
Kamil Glik and Thomas Lemar also got on the scoresheet for the hosts.
Mbappe has been unstoppable in recent months, scoring 22 goals in his last 20 starts in all competitions.
Having turned 18 just four months ago, Mbappe has scored 24 goals in 38 games in his first full professional season to become one of the most sought-after players across Europe.
Both Monaco and PSG, which travels to third-placed Nice on Sunday, have four league matches left to play.
After rotating his team in a 5-0 loss to PSG in the French Cup to save his best players for Wednesday’s Champions League clash, Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim switched back to his usual starting lineup. His players made a slow start but ended up scoring three goals — their average this season.
Toulouse, which upset Monaco 3-1 in the corresponding fixture last October, had the first chance in the 10th minute when the unmarked Andy Delort sent a header inches wide at the far post from a free kick.
Monaco gradually worked its way into the game and took a firm grip near the half-hour. Following a one-two with Thomas Lemar, Bernardo Silva dribbled past a defender and forced ’keeper Alban Lafont to make a good save to his left.
The youngest player in French league history to reach 10 goals in a season, Mbappe was then perfectly set up by Nabil Dirar’s long ball down the left flank but saw his effort deflected by a last-minute tackle from Toulouse skipper Issa Diop.
Struggling to break a well-organized defense, Monaco kept peppering the box with teasing crosses but lacked a cutting edge.
Monaco found itself trailing against the run of the play just after the interval following a blunder from Jemerson. The Brazilian defender fluffed the ball in front of goal, allowing Ola Toivonen to beat Danijel Subasic with a clean finish.
The goal spurred Monaco on even more and Glik put the teams level with a beautiful header into the top right corner from Joao Moutinho’s cross.
Mbappe made it 2-1 in the 64th minute after Bernardo Silva set him up on the right side of the area, rifling a shot into the net from a tight angle.
Lemar completed the win in the 75th minute from Dirar’s clinical cross.
BASTIA 1, RENNES 0
Enzo Crivelli’s winner in the 68th minute gave last-placed Bastia a glimmer of hope in the fight against relegation.
The Corsican side remains at the bottom, but only two points from safety. However, Bastia is facing heavy sanctions that could include a points deduction after the crowd trouble that led to a home game against Lyon being abandoned earlier this month.
Saturday’s match against Rennes was played behind closed doors and at a neutral venue.
GUINGAMP 0, SAINT-ETIENNE 2
Saint-Etienne ended a three-game winless run and revived its slim hopes of qualifying for the Europa League.
Saint-Etienne reduced the gap with fifth-placed Bordeaux to six points with goals from Vincent Pajot and Romain Hamouma, who scored from the penalty spot.
METZ 2, NANCY 1
It was a much-needed win for Metz, which moved seven points above the relegation zone after the Lorraine derby.
Ismaila Sarr netted another beautiful goal with a neat finish after picking up the ball in his own half and getting past three defenders with his speed.
Opa Nguette scored the winner in the 53rd minute after Faitout Maouassa put the teams level.
Montpellier 0, Lille 3; Nantes 1, Lorient 0.