AS Monaco booked a second-straight Coupe de la Ligue final berth against PSG by besting Montpellier 2-0, a first-half double from Colombia striker Radamel Falcao doing the damage at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday night.
Monaco are finalists once again, their 2-0 win over Montpellier earning them the right to do battle with four-time holders Paris Saint-Germain for the Coupe de la Ligue title for the second season in a row.
Leonardo Jardim’s men have been collecting mixed results of late, but they were cool, calm and collected as they dealt with Montpellier, making the most of a timid start from the visitors – perhaps affected by their 4-0 loss to PSG on Saturday – and making the break early.
After some fine work on the edge of the area from Djibril Sidibé, the ever-alert Falcao took a deft first touch and fired an angled shot past Benjamin Lecomte (15′). The 31-year-old was then on hand to put a superb finishing touch on a well-crafted team goal, slotting home Rony Lopes’ low cross without issue (29′).
Montpellier were looking to book a place in the final in honour of late club owner Louis Nicollin, who had always wanted to win the competition, and they duly pushed hard to pull one back in the second half. However, despite late chances for Junior Samba (58′) and substitute Casimir Ninga (80′), it wasn’t to be for La Paillade.
Despite having a penalty denied (19′) and a goal ruled out for off-side (67′), Monaco, ran out comfortable 2-0 winners and now head into Sunday night’s headline Ligue 1 Conforama clash at home to Olympique Lyonnais with plenty of confidence.
THE PLAYER: Radamel Falcao
The Colombian is having a superb season (20 goals, including one hat-trick and four doubles, in 26 matches in all competitions) and his display of clinical finishing against Montpellier – who until recently boasted Ligue 1’s stingiest defence – showed that he is still at the top of his game, able to put chances away early and get his side in the driver’s seat.
THE STAT: 2
The final at the Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux on Saturday, March 31, will be Monaco’s second in a row, and their second in a row against Paris Saint-Germain. The capital club beat them 4-1 last season, but Monaco can make it second time lucky with a win, which would clinch them just a second Coupe de la Ligue title in club history. Their first came in 2003, when Didier Deschamps coached his uber-talented side to a 4-1 win over Sochaux.