Narrow win for Monaco
Last Updated: 09/12/13 7:13am
Anthony Martial is put under plenty of pressure.
Monaco moved back to second in Ligue 1 with a hard-fought 1-0 win over 10-man Ajaccio at the Stade Louis II.
Emmanuel Riviere's eighth goal of the season with 15 minutes left to play proved enough for Claudio Ranieri's men after the visitors had Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi sent-off with an hour played.
Victory for Monaco, their fourth league win in a row, moved them back above Lille following their defeat at Bordeaux earlier in the day and closed the gap on leaders Paris St Germain back to two points.
As expected, Monaco dominated possession from the outset and almost made that dominance pay when Anthony Martial brought the first save from Guillermo Ochoa as the 20-minute mark approached, the Mexican goalkeeper turning his effort around the post for a corner.
From the resulting set-piece, a face-masked Ricardo Carvalho saw his goal-bound header cleared by Mehdi Mostefa as the hosts looked to turn the screw.
Ajaccio did threaten after half an hour when Junior Tallo forced a save from Daniel Subasic with a smart short which the Monaco number one gathered at the second attempt before Layvin Kurzawa blazed a volley high and wide at the other end.
Martial almost broke the deadlock shortly before half-time but his acrobatic effort from Andrea Raggi's delivery failed to find the target and the scores remained level at the break.
Monaco's young forward Martial continued to look dangerous after the restart but once again he failed to find the target from a useful position, this time heading wide after meeting Kurzawa's cross at the near post.
The one-way traffic continued into the second-half but the visitors continued to frustrate Ranieri's team when Ochoa pulled off a magnificent save to deny Carvalho with a header from Joao Moutinho's corner.
However, Ajaccio's chances of holding out for the full 90 minutes took a turn for the worse when Pierazzi was shown a second yellow card with just over an hour gone for an ugly foul on James Rodriguez and the Corsicans were left to see out the remainder of the game with 10 men.
That advantage soon made the difference as Monaco finally broke down their resilient opponents with 15 minutes left in scrappy circumstances.
Kurzawa was the provider but his centre was missed by both Moutinho and Valerie Germain before Raggi was on hand to send the ball across the goalmouth where Riviere poked the ball over the line.
Rodriguez almost doubled the hosts' lead five minutes later but the Colombian's superb free-kick came back off the post with Ochoa well beaten as Ajaccio continued to live dangerously.
French Ligue 1
|6||Paris St Germain||3||5|
|20||Evian Thonon Gaillar||3||1|