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Monaco beat Marseille to go top of Ligue 1

AFP/The Local · 2 Sep 2013, 08:27

Published: 02 Sep 2013 08:27 GMT+02:00

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Newly promoted Monaco went top of Ligue 1 after coming from behind to defeat Marseille 2-1 in a thrilling encounter at the Velodrome on Sunday.

The home side took the lead on the stroke of half-time when a Mathieu Valbuena corner from the left was headed home by Brazilian defender Lucas Mendes for his first goal in the French top flight on 43 minutes.

However the lead was short lived as Monaco took advantage of some sloppy Marseille defending to equalise through Colombian record signing Radamel Falcao who crashed the ball home three minutes inside the second half for his third goal of the season.

Frenchman Emmanuel Riviere then stole the headlines with 11 minutes left as he latched onto a sweet through ball from Portuguese midfielder Joao Moutinho before slotting the ball past former French number one Steeve Mandanda.

It was Riviere's league leading fifth goal of the season.    "I finished off the work," said Riviere.

"My speed is my greatest quality and Im at 100% this season.

"It is my confidence which explains my success and the work I've put in.

"What is missing is finishing but my ambition is to target the France national team," he added.

On a sour note for the 2004 Champions League finalists, Falcao came off with just over 15 minutes left with a right ankle problem although details of the injury remain uncertain.

Monaco take their early season tally to 10 points from four matches while Saint-Etienne go joint second on nine with Marseille after defeating Bordeaux 2-1 earlier in the day and defending champions Paris Saint-Germain are on eight.

Saint-Etienne bounced back from their midweek Europa League disappointment to beat Bordeaux 2-1 at home while Montpellier came back twice to force a 2-2 draw against fellow southerners Nice.

At the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium where Saint-Etienne crashed out in the play-off round on Thursday, losing to Danish side Esbjerg 5-3 on aggregate, Sunday was another matter as goals from Romain Hamouma and captain Loic Perrin ensured there was no European hangover for Christophe Galtier's side.

Meanwhile Nice played their last home match at the Stade du Ray before moving into a new venue but despite leading 1-0 and 2-1, Claude Puel's men were pegged back by the 2012 champions in an entertaining 2-2 draw.

Galtier's side made it three wins from four as their midweek European disaster was put to one side and put them right in the thick of the title race
on nine points.

"I expected a reaction after our Europa League elimination and the best response was the one we produced on the pitch even if there were times we suffered from fatigue and people playing out of position," said Galtier afterwards.

"It's a good win as we were coming off a big disappointment," he added.

Josuha Guilavogui was held out of the hosts' squad with the France midfielder on the verge of a move to Atletico Madrid, but despite his absence Saint-Etienne went in front on eight minutes.

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Banel Nicolita was afforded too much time on the right and his teasing cross was volleyed expertly past Bordeaux goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso by Hamouma.

The home side came close to a second just before half-time as Fabien Lemoine rattled the post, and Perrin went onto double their advantage five minutes after the break as he nodded in Benjamin Corgnet's free-kick.

Ludovic Obraniak ensured the hosts were made to face a nervy finish as he cut the deficit with a thunderous strike in the 90th minute, but Saint-Etienne held on to record a third win in four outings and climb up to second.


Marseille 1 (Mendes 43) Monaco 2 (Falcao 47, Riviere 79)

Saint-Etienne 2 (Hamouna 7, L. Perrin 50) Bordeaux 1 (Obraniak 90+1)
Nice 2 (Kolodziecziak 18, Eysseric 43) Montpellier 2 (S. Camara 34, Tiene
Evian 2 (Berigaud 8, 33) Lyon 1 (Ferri 49)
Paris SG 2 (Rabiot 90+1, Ibrahimovic 90+3) Guingamp 0
Bastia 2 (Keseru 43, Romaric 67) Toulouse 1 (Braithwaite 57)
Lorient 1 (Aboubakar 14) Valenciennes 0
Reims 0 Nantes 0
Rennes 0 Lille 0
Sochaux 0 Ajaccio 0

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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