Monaco maintain pressure on pace-setters

Monaco cruised past Reims on Sunday to reclaim fourth place in the table thanks to a 3-1 win over the Ligue 1 strugglers.

AFP| Updated: Mar 23, 2015, 09:34 AM IST
Monaco maintain pressure on pace-setters

Paris: Monaco cruised past Reims on Sunday to reclaim fourth place in the table thanks to a 3-1 win over the Ligue 1 strugglers.

The Principality side, who reached the Champions League quarter-finals after ousting Arsenal on away goals in midweek, turned on the style as goals from Fabinho and Anthony Martial in the first half gave them a decisive lead.

Diego put Reims back into the game with 20 minutes to go but Nabil Dirar rose above the hosts` defence to seal the three points in the 79th minute.

"My team forgot about the Champions League very quickly and managed 20 minutes of real quality. We scored twice in those first 20 minutes. Our opponents then responded," Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said.

"We showed we could offer some attacking football. The players play together and that`s very important.

"The team is improving: after a rough start of the season, everyone worked hard to get there. The victory is very important for us ahead of the international break."

Monaco are now just a point off the Champions League qualifying places, although Marseille are yet to play this weekend.

"Our goal is to draw near the teams who are ahead of us. We have to stay in the top five and strengthen our position," the Portuguese added.

Monaco leapfrogged Saint-Etienne, who were temporarily lifted to fourth place following a 2-0 over Lille earlier on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain went top of Ligue 1 for the first time this season after title-rivals Lyon lost 2-1 at home to ten-man Nice on Saturday.

The Parisians beat Lorient 3-1 on Friday thanks to a hat-trick from giant Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The results leave PSG on 59 points from 30 games with Lyon, who had taken the Ligue 1 lead from Marseille in the first game of 2015, second a point behind.

Marseille, who are five points behind PSG in third, travel to Lens on Sunday night. If Marseille win they would move to within a point of Lyon, and two of PSG, to send Ligue 1 into a three-way battle of nerves with just eight games to go.