Nine-man Monaco hang on to beat Strasbourg

Monaco’s German forward Kevin Volland (C) fights for the ball with Strasbourg’s Serbian defender Stefan Mitrovic (L) during the French L1 football match between Monaco (ASM) and Strasbourg (RCSA) at the Louis II stadium in Monaco, yesterday. – AFP

PARIS: Monaco hung on desperately to beat Strasbourg 3-2 in Ligue 1 yesterday after having two players sent off as Lille moved into second place with a more straightforward 2-0 win over Nantes. Monaco coach Niko Kovac described his side as “heroic” as they resisted a comeback from battling Strasbourg despite the dismissals of Aurelien Tchouameni and Axel Disasi at the Stade Louis II.

Wissam Ben Yedder put Monaco ahead with a ninth-minute strike before Ruben Aguilar made it 2-0 late in first-half stoppage time. Mehdi Chahiri pulled Strasbourg back into contention just after the break before Ben Yedder struck again on 47 minutes. But the Monaco sendings-off put Strasbourg on the front foot.

Disasi was dismissed for bringing down Ludovic Ajorque, who scored from the penalty spot to make it 3-2, setting up a breathless last 20 minutes. “My players were heroic,” Kovac said. “When we were down to nine and the young players came on they showed a lot of character.” Monaco move to 10 points from five games, three points behind surprise leaders Rennes. Seeking to stay in touch with Rennes who beat Saint Etienne 3-0 away on Saturday, Lille went ahead through a Nicolas Pallois own goal before Turkish international Burak Yilmaz wrapped up the three points with an 87th minute spot kick.
Montpellier wasted the chance to go second when they were held 2-2 at Dijon. Patrick Vieira’s Nice side showed they are struggling for form as they were held to a goalless draw at Bordeaux despite hitting the woodwork three times. The southern side have seven points from five games. Reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain, still struggling to get back on track after a stormy start to the season following their defeat in the Champions League final, visited Reims. — AFP

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