After going behind to Dijon, AS Monaco showed great mental strength to fight back and take all three points thanks to Radamel Falcao’s 18th goal of the season in Ligue 1.
In this thrilling title race, Leonardo Jardim’s know there can be no room for slip-ups. With PSG winning on Friday and Nice doing the same on Saturday afternoon, the visit of Dijon suddenly took on vital importance. As the matches continue to come thick and fast, the Monegasque coach has been forced to rotate his squad, and Dirar and Germain both started this game, along with a fit-again Mendy and Bakayoko , who had served his suspension. While the first chance fell to Dijon, in the shape of an off-target shot from Sammaritano, it was Monaco who looked the more enterprising through Silva (16 mins) and Mbappé (16 mins).
VARRAULT SPOILS THE PARTY
The biggest opportunity of the first half was created by Diony. On 33 minutes, the Dijon striker showed Glik a clean pair of heels and hammered an effort against Subasic’s crossbar. It was a warning for the Monegasque defence… but in the 42nd minute Cédric Varrault broke the deadlock. From a long-range free-kick, Sammaritano found the head of Tavares. Subasic made a wonderful save but could only push the ball onto his line. Varrault launched himself at it to open the scoring. Dijon went in 1-0 up at the break.
EL TIGRE ROARS OFF THE BENCH
After the break, it was all AS Monaco. With barely three minutes of the second half played, Germain came within inches of equalising with a bullet header from point blank range that Reynet somehow managed to keep out. On the hour mark, Radamel Falcao came on in place of Bakayoko and the game soon turned on its head. After setting up Silva for a shot that was blocked by the Dijon defence, the Columbian striker took charge of matters, stepping up to smash a 25 yard free-kick against Reynet’s crossbar. The ball rebounded to Dirar who had followed up, and duly swept home the leveller (1-1).
FALCAO BRINGS UP NUMBER 18
It was no more than the Monegasques deserved, but they weren’t about to stop there. The pressure was building minute by minute on Baptiste Reynet’s goal. After Glik had a goal ruled out for an offside by Falcao (74 mins), El Tigre sent the Louis-II into raptures in the 79th minute, bending in a sumptuous free-kick that wrong-footed the Dijon ‘keeper to send the home side into a 2-1 lead. Falcao’s 18th goal of this Ligue 1 season restores AS Monaco’s lead over their title rivals, and ensures the perfect preparation for next Wednesday’s visit of Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final. Daghe!