Ligue 1: Monaco brings down Nice and returns to the podium

Monaco took third place on the Ligue 1 podium after its victory, at the end of a crazy match in Nice (3-2), which was until now undefeated at home but which remains runner-up to Paris Saint-Germain, Sunday 11 February closing day 21

Ligue 1: Monaco brings down Nice and returns to the podium

Monaco took third place on the Ligue 1 podium after its victory, at the end of a crazy match in Nice (3-2), which was until now undefeated at home but which remains runner-up to Paris Saint-Germain, Sunday 11 February closing day 21.

Adi Hütter, the Monaco coach, was under pressure before this meeting. And his team responded with its weapons and weaknesses. The Principality team was generous, playful, talented but also mentally deficient while leading and playing in numerical superiority.

In the Monaco parking lot the huge banner “Move your ass” was certainly translated to Dmitry Rybolovlev. Accompanied by his daughter, the Russian billionaire was present at a match of his club for the third consecutive time, a first in nearly 13 years of presidency. He suffered but won.

Because Monaco had to lead three times to succeed in winning. Denis Zakaria, author of a magnificent double, and Aleksandr Golovin therefore allowed the Principality team, in bad shape recently, to put itself back in the race for the Champions League. With 38 points, the club is now one step behind Nice. And it’s Paris Saint-Germain, 11 points ahead of the Aiglons, who performed very well of the day.

Double from Zakarias

As Nice played to stand up to its opponent, the start of the match was intense and high level. Even without having yet struck on goal, Wissam Ben Yedder and his team showed a capacity for destabilization rarely seen in recent outings. So when Denis Zakaria planted, from 25 meters, the first Monegasque shot on target in the top corner, the Rouge et Blanc took a logical advantage (1-0, 16th).

From then on, as often this season. Monaco has backed down. And above all, Nice did not deviate from its principles: suck in its opponent and hit behind their back. Cornered on its right side, Monaco ended up faltering. Launched in depth by Dante, the young Tom Louchet passed in front of Kehrer before collapsing in the area. Gaëtan Laborde converted the penalty from the left and offered a deserved equalizer to the Aiglons (1-1, 37th).

In the second half, Nice came back strongly, but it was again Zakaria who projected himself, giving the Monegasques the lead again (1-2, 50th). In the process, Dante was excluded after the intervention of the VAR (55th). Nice, however, did not give up. From a corner from Sanson, Guessand dominated Salisu with a header to equalize and make the match one of the great matches of the season.

Nice, capable of winning, pushed again, and again. But it was Monaco in a classy action that knocked out their opponent. Bulka had nevertheless released Jakobs' first strike. But Golovin followed well to give a victory (2-3, 77th), which Nice contested until the end of seven minutes of added time.

Lyon takes a deep breath

Brest, down to 4th place, on the other hand looks gloomy after having broken its teeth against Clermont (1-1), dead last and very happy not to bow against one of the best teams in the 'elite. Rennes, qualified on Tuesday for the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France, continued its momentum in L1 thanks to a goal from Benjamin Bourigeaud which allowed Julien Stéphan's team to move into 7th position. Enough to prepare with the greatest serenity for the trip to the AC Milan pitch, Thursday in the Europa League play-offs.

In the race to maintain, Lyon almost plunged again and fell back into its failings against Montpellier in a duel of poorly classified but the Rhone club was saved at the end of the match, first by its providential scorer Alexandre Lacazette then by Maxence Caqueret (2 -1), author of a nice shot under the crossbar. The improvement seen in recent weeks under the direction of Pierre Sage is confirmed for OL, which also benefits from the contribution of its numerous winter recruits. Now 13th, Lyon takes a deep breath.

Lorient also carried out a great operation by beating Reims (9th) at Moustoir (2-0) and gives themselves some fresh air with this second success in a row (16th and play-off). On the Reims side, Japanese international Junya Ito, accused of sexual assault by two women in Japan, was started by Will Still after returning to France following the elimination of his national team in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup in Qatar. Nantes (12th) for its part brought back a valuable victory for Toulouse (2-1), which eases some of the pressure around coach Jocelyn Gourvennec.