Three and easy for Monaco
Last Updated: 06/04/14 11:29pm
Monaco celebrate their win
Monaco kept alive any slim hopes of claiming a first Ligue 1 title in 14 years with a 3-0 win over Nantes.
Having not tasted victory in their previous two league outings, Claudio Ranieri's team had to win to prevent themselves falling an almost unassailable 16 points behind PSG with just 18 to play for and a brace from Colombian James Rodriguez proved just the tonic.
Unsurprisingly, it was the hosts who did all the pressing from the outset and Fabinho was the first to force a save from Maxime Dupe with a low strike before the principality side had half-hearted claims for a penalty turned away when Issa Cissokho accidentally handled inside the area.
Monaco's early pressure paid off when, despite being in an apparently offside position, Dimitar Berbatov created space on the right and his delivery found Rodriguez who beautifully guided the ball around the defence and beyond Dupe from 20 yards.
Berbatov thought he had doubled the lead in a matter of minutes but, after poking the ball beyond Dupe, the linesman's flag was rightfully raised and the goal was ruled out.
The hosts were not having it all their own way though and Nantes striker Itay Shechter was proving to be a real thorn in the side.
Firstly, the Israel international somehow managed to turn Serge Gakpe's free-kick over the bar from just a few yards out before he found space inside the area from Birama Toure's pass, but lost out to a superb Danijel Subasic save.
Nantes had a penalty call of their own just after the restart when Gakpe got free inside the area before Subasic sent him flying but referee Benoit Millot turned away the protests, not for the first time in the match.
The second half proved to be a more even affair and Rodriguez went close again for Monaco but his shot shaved the left post before Shechter wriggled his way into the area at the other end, only to see his curling effort end up the wrong side of Subasic's upright.
However, with less than 20 minutes to go Raggi popped up to meet Joao Moutinho's corner with a well-placed header that left Dupe beaten for a second time and put an end to any hopes of a Les Canaris comeback.
The points were all but wrapped up just four minutes later when Veigneau brought down Fabinho and, at the third time of asking, Millot pointed at the spot before Rodriguez converted his second of the game.
Alejandro Bedoya did grab a consolation for Nantes with a superb header that left Subasic with little chance after the impressive Shechter had picked him out.
French Ligue 1
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