In-form duo Stevan Jovetic and Rony Lopes both scored as AS Monaco came from behind to beat Girondins de Bordeaux 2-1 on Friday and retain their grip on second place for another week.
AS Monaco 2-1 Girondins de Bordeaux
With coach Leonardo Jardim deciding not to risk Radamel Falcao as he continues to recover from injury, Jovetic was given the leading role, and did not disappoint.
He ruffled Benoît Costil’s side-netting (15′), and then started the move that saw Rachid Ghezzal quick-step inside a challenge and graze the crossbar with a shot that he should have at least tested Costil with (27′).
Monaco, who had scored in their previous 50 league games at the Stade Louis II, appeared set to quickly extend that streak, but instead were caught out at the opposite end. Youssouf Sabaly’s powerful run took him past two defenders, and his cross found Valentin Vada, who sent a first-time shot high past Danijel Subasic (32′).
Within 60 seconds, Thomas Lemar stabbed a great chance wide (33′), but made amends when — after Fabinho had robbed Vada of possession on halfway — he sent a delicious first-time ball to Jovetic that gave the Montenegrin the chance to level in the seconds before the break (45′).
It was the former Manchester City and Sevilla striker’s eighth goal in his last 14 league appearances in France and Spain, almost as good a run of form as Lopes.
The Portuguese attacking midfielder’s game-winning ability has come to the fore in recent weeks, and he took his goals tally to six in just seven outings when he seized onto Djibril Sidibe’s pass to fire high across Costil, who was playing his 250th top-flight game in France, from a tight angle (69′).
Martin Braithwaite had a late opportunity to rescue a point, but the January arrival could only find the side-netting (84′) as the reigning Ligue 1 champions extended their unbeaten run to 13 matches with a win that will keep them at least two points clear of Olympique de Marseille, who play host to FC Nantes on Sunday.
THE PLAYER: Stevan Jovetic
With Falcao sidelined, Jovetic has proven himself a more than adequate replacement. After spells in Italy, England and Spain with varying degrees of success, perhaps now – at 28 – he has finally found the club where he can best express himself.
THE STAT: 51
Having scored in 51 successive home games, Monaco are closing in on Nice’s mark of 55 set in the mid-to-late 1970s.