Monaco beats Marseille to close gap on leader PSG

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 26, 2014 at 5:09 pm •  Published: January 26, 2014

PARIS (AP) — Monaco moved to within three points of French league leader Paris Saint-Germain after beating a dispirited Marseille team 2-0 on Sunday.

Monaco also showed it can cope without injured star striker Radamel Falcao as forwards Valere Germain, making only his second start of the season, and Emmanuel Riviere scored a goal each to punish some poor Marseille defending.

The Monaco players all wore T-shirts with "Fuerza Tigre" ("Be Strong, Tiger" referring to his nickname "El Tigre") written on them as a show of support for Falcao. The Colombia striker underwent surgery on Saturday after tearing his left knee ligaments in the French Cup in midweek.

"It's a good win for us. I managed to score and so did Valere, and I'm very pleased for him," Riviere said. "Even without Falcao we have good players, but I would like to dedicate this win to him. We're all right behind him, he's a very important player."

Earlier, Alexandre Lacazette took his league tally to 12 as Lyon beat 10-man Evian 3-0 to extend its unbeaten run to 12 matches and move up to fifth. Also, Bordeaux beat fourth-place Saint-Etienne 2-0.

Monaco hosts PSG on Feb. 9 and can put the pressure on PSG with a win.

"Everything is possible," Riviere said. "We still have to play Paris at home and that will be decisive."

Marseille's problems continue, however, with the team languishing in ninth place and out of all Cup competitions following a 5-4 defeat to Nice in the French Cup in midweek. At the final whistle, striker Andre-Pierre Gignac held his head in his hands as he lay on the ground.

"The team is really doubting at the moment," coach Jose Anigo said. "They're good players but they have to believe it themselves."

Riviere almost scored in the first minute when he ran onto a cross from the right and forced goalkeeper Steve Mandanda into a superb one-handed save. Monaco found it easy to get behind Marseille's shaky defense, and right back Andrea Raggi placed his shot too close to Mandanda in the 20th.

A minute later, Marseille center half Souleymane Diawara got the ball stuck under his foot and Riviere stole possession before sprinting towards goal, only to drag his shot wide.

Germain gave Monaco the lead with an expertly-taken goal in the 41st minute, cutting past Diawara before curling the ball past Mandanda and into the bottom right corner.

Continue reading this story on the...