Monaco thrash Lorient 4-0 to go top; Lyon beat Marseille
PARIS: After yet another ruthless display of attacking football, free-scoring Monaco moved to the top of the French league and padded out its huge goal difference following a 4-0 home win against Lorient on Sunday.
Striker Valere Germain and midfielder Gabriel Boschilia got two goals each.
Monaco made it 64 goals in 21 league games — more than any other team in Europe's top five leagues, with 21 goals conceded — and 90 in 34 overall. It was also the ninth time this season that Monaco has scored at least four goals.
"We've been scoring a lot of goals for a few games now. Obviously it is impressive," Germain said. "But we must keep working hard and shouldn't get ahead of ourselves."
Monaco has a more difficult trip away to defending Paris Saint-Germain next weekend, in a match that will help to shape the title race.
Monaco is two points ahead of Nice and three points clear of third-placed PSG heading into Sunday's clash.
"Winning in Paris would be huge, we'd strike a blow," Germain said. "We sense that Paris is not quite as good this year."
Monaco beat PSG 3-1 early in the season — the first of PSG's four defeats away from home.
Last Sunday, Monaco's 4-1 win in Marseille was all about lightning counterattacks, but against a Lorient side with the worst defence in the league Monaco dictated play easily.
"We controlled the game, we looked for spaces and we found them," Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said. "We weren't as strong in the second half but it was a question of resting players. We have a game on Wednesday."
Monaco is at home to Nancy in the League Cup semifinals on Wednesday, with PSG away to Bordeaux on Tuesday in the other semifinal.
Given a rare start, Boschilia put Monaco ahead in the 24th minute with a close-range effort after goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte spilled a high ball, and made it 2-0 five minutes later when he put the ball through Lecomte's legs after a fine run and pass from playmaker Bernardo Silva.
The third goal came when Lorient clumsily lost possession in the 38th close to goal and, after striker Radamel Falcao's shot came back off the post, Germain collected the loose ball and curled it into the bottom corner.
Poor defending from defender Michael Ciani led to the fourth on the hour mark.
Ciani tried to play his way out of trouble near the touchline, but right back Djibril Sidibe robbed him of possession and burst toward the penalty area, where Germain got the ball and placed it out of Lecomte's reach.
Germain, an unselfish striker with excellent awareness and movement, took his tally to seven league goals.
"My role is more in the shadows, I try to create space," Germain said. "The coach asks me to make runs to the wings and that leaves more space for Falcao."
Lorient, which has conceded 43 goals, is bottom of the table.
PSG won 2-0 away to Nantes on Saturday, with Edinson Cavani scoring both goals, while Nice drew 1-1 away to Bastia on Friday night.
Lyon 3, Marseille 1
Striker Alexandre Lacazette again showed why he is rated at around 50 million euros (around $54 million) with two more goals to take his league tally to 17.
Only PSG striker Edinson Cavani — with 20 — has scored more than Lacazette, but Cavani has played two games more.
Lacazette struck with clinical finishes in the second half and has now scored eight goals in his last six games for Lyon, which is in fourth place.
But the goal of the night came from winger Mathieu Valbuena, who is staking a strong claim to get back in the France squad.
Collecting a pass on the left wing in the 43rd, he cut outside Japanese right back Hiroki Sakai, looked up and curled a superb shot into the opposite corner for his sixth goal in the last 10 games.
Valbuena was replaced late on by Memphis Depay, who made his debut after joining this week from Manchester United.
Brazilian center half Doria scored for Marseille.
Saint-Etienne 2, Angers 1
Angers players may have cause to feel angry when they see replays of defender Loic Perrin's winner for Saint-Etienne.
Perrin was challenging for a cross in the 75th when a defender's clearance struck Perrin on the hand as he raised his arm protectively, and the ball bounced into the goal.
Croatian center half Mateo Pavlovic gave Angers an early lead and Saint-Etienne equalised with another stroke of good fortune in the 51st. Winger Romain Hamouma's cross from the left struck defender Abdoulaye Bamba and went over goalkeeper Denis Petric.