Monaco reduce the gap
Last Updated: 15/02/14 7:03pm
James Rodriguez celebrates after putting Monaco ahead
James Rodriguez scored in each half as Monaco moved back to within five points of Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain with a 2-0 victory over Bastia at Stade Armand Cesari.
Rodriguez struck just before the break before adding his second deep into the second half for his fourth and fifth goals of the season as the visitors extended their unbeaten run to nine matches in all competitions.
PSG defeated Valenciennes 3-0 on Friday night to take their points tally to 58, with Claudio Ranieri's Monaco nine points ahead of third-placed Lille, who travel to Evian on Sunday.
The home side had a good chance to take the lead in the opening exchanges as Sambou Yatabare combined with Djibril Cisse on the left, and the former Liverpool striker flicked toward Ilan for a straight shot which defender Fabinho managed to deflect away.
Five minutes later down at the other end of the pitch, Jean-Louis Leca was called into action after Joao Moutinho picked out Emmanuel Riviere inside the penalty area and the 23-year-old forward had a great close-range effort repelled as the Bastia goalkeeper punched the ball clear using both fists.
The visitors continued to press and Layvin Kurzawa brought the ball down the left, beating Drissa Diakite to send in a powerful cross which brushed the post midway through the first half.
And their pressure paid off on the stroke of halt-time as Rodriguez took a free-kick from the left - just outside the penalty area - and curled the ball home to give his side the lead.
Monaco began the second half on top and Riviere freed Valere Germain, who fired at the Bastia goal from the right of the penalty area only to see his effort strike the post.
And Germain combined with Lucas Ocampos in the danger area next but the Argentinian winger also smashed the post.
Rodriguez made his side's pressure count after 77 minutes as he stole the ball from Bastia's Yannick Cahuzac and raced down the field - dribbling past the home defence - before sending home a powerful shot to double Monaco's lead.
The home side did not give up and had the chance for a late consolation but Ryad Boudebouz's curled 25-yard effort was slapped to safety by Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic, who went full stretch to keep the clean sheet.
French Ligue 1
|3||Paris St Germain||22||44|
|16||Evian Thonon Gaillar||22||23|