Emmanuel Riviere hit the winner as AS Monaco came from behind to beat Olympique Marseille 2-1 at the Stade Veledrome.
Lucas Mendes’ first half header had the home side leading at the break, but Radamel Falcao fired in from close range to level the scores in the 47th minute.
Riviere came off the bench to slam in his fifth goal of the season and the win means Monaco move to the top of the Ligue 1 table.
The home side started well, with a loud home support cheering them on inside the Veledrome. Rod Fanni’s cross was touched down by Andre Ayew and it allowed Dimitri Payet to drive at goal from 20 yards, but Danijel Subasic pulled off a wonderful save to keep the scores level after eleven minutes.
Monaco went on attack up the other end and should have been in front, but poor finishing cost them. Fabinho got forward on the right and pulled the ball back well, but Yannick Carrasco smashes wide from 12 yards when he should have been testing Steve Mandanda in the Marseille goal.
Marseille pushed on from there and went on to dominate the rest of the first half. Andre-Pierre Gignac went very close as he whistled a shot wide on the turn while Ayew should have done better with a right-footed shot from the edge of the box after good work by Fanni. The attacking midfielder found space, but couldn’t get his effort on target to the disappointment of the home fans.
The disappointment didn’t last long as Marseille took the lead in the 43rd minute. Mathieu Valbuena’s deep corner should have been headed clear by Eric Abidal, but the former Barcelona defender was beaten in the air by Mendes who powered his header past Subasic from six yards out. It was a terrific header, but Claudio Ranieri will know his side could have defended the set-piece better.
Elie Baup’s team talk at half time would have consisted of the home side keeping tight at the back and not conceding any silly goals, but that’s exactly what happened as Monaco pulled level just two minutes after the break. Layvin Kurzawa journeyed forward from left-back and swung in a cross that was allowed to fall all the way through to Falcao in the six yard box, and the Colombian striker made no mistake with a lethal finish from close range.
Ranieri’s men were back in the game, but were given a scare when Ayew hit the frame of the goal in the 52nd minute. The Ghana international ran at the Monaco defence and came inside onto his favoured left-foot, but his powerful shot from the edge of the box pinged back off the post and away to safety. It was very unlucky and it proved to be the closest Marseille came to grabbing the win.
The away side learnt from the scare and went about the task of getting a winning goal. They hit the post themselves after 63 minutes and Kurzawa was very unlucky not to give his team the lead. Joao Moutinho’s corner caught the Marseille defence by surprise and Kurzawa managed to get a header at the near post, but the ball flicked off the frame of the goal and into Mandanda’s grateful hands.
In the end, Monaco’s winner came with just eleven minutes to go and Baup will be disappointed by how easily his defence were carved open. It was Moutinho’s pass that did the damage and Riviere raced on to the ball and slammed into the bottom corner from 20 yards, leaving Mandanda with no chance. It was a great finish and may have been a message to Ranieri from the striker who has started the season in good form.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)