France-Ligue 1Soccer News


Aleksandr Golovin’s first-half strike earned AS Monaco a vital 1-0 victory over OGC Nice in the race for the Champions League places as the ‘Monégasques’ extended the Ligue 1 winning run to five.

Just one point in Ligue 1 separated Monaco in sixth and Nice in fourth ahead of the Derby de la Côte d’Azur as both sides continued to mount a late surge for a Champions League place. With plenty at stake, a cagey opening period ensued, but Nice gradually took control and Mario Lemina emerged as the ‘Eaglets’ main threat, popping up unmarked in the area and heading over the crossbar from close range.

Yet, with one rapid counter-attack, the ‘Monégasques’ showed why they had won their previous four Ligue 1 matches as Golovin’s through ball found Wissam Ben Yedder in the Nice area but the striker’s powerful effort was turned behind by Walter Benítez. Seconds before HT, Golovin turned goalscorer when he followed in Benítez’s spilled save and fired in from point-blank range for his first Monaco goal since October.

Any comeback for Nice was going to require a monumental effort, considering the ‘Eaglets’ had won just once in Monaco in their last 10 visits. Nonetheless, Christophe Galtier’s side started the second half positively and Andy Delort, who scored both goals in Nice’s 2-1 win over Lorient last time out, headed inches wide from inside the six-yard box. Monaco continued to look dangerous on the break and top-scorer Ben Yedder almost notched his 15th home goal of the season after racing through and chipping over Benítez, with the ball clipping the outside of the post.

Monaco held on despite some late Nice pressure and the victory leaves Philippe Clement’s side outside the top three on goal difference. For Nice, troubles continue as they have now failed to win five of their last six and their hopes of a Champions League place next season continue to dwindle.

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