Monaco takes tally to 117 goals & reaches Cup quarterfinals
ABS-CBN Sports on Mar 02, 2017 10:13 AM
JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) — Monaco took its season's tally to an astonishing 117 goals, beating Marseille 4-3 away on Wednesday in a pulsating match to reach the French Cup quarterfinals and remain on course for a domestic treble.
Paris Saint-Germain is on course to defend its treble after earlier beating second tier Niort 2-0 away in scrappy fashion.
Monaco tops the French league ahead of PSG and they meet in the League Cup final next month. Both are still involved in the Champions League in one of the most exciting seasons in French football for many years.
That the match in Marseille went to extra time was a credit to the home side's tenacity, especially after the 5-1 drubbing by PSG on Sunday night.
Marseille twice came from behind to force extra time and equalized again in extra time.
But Monaco's razor-sharp attack shredded Marseille on the counter attack, making it the 13th time this season Monaco has scored at least four goals in one game. Monaco beat Marseille 4-0 at home and 4-1 away in the league.
Monaco forward Kylian Mbappe further underlined his reputation as one of the rising stars of European football with a fine finish and an unselfish assist. The 18-year-old forward was also involved in the build-up for the winner, scored by midfielder Thomas Lemar, and tormented Marseille's defense with his electric speed and sudden changes of direction.
Monaco's first came in the 19th minute, when Portugal midfielder Joao Moutinho's free kick hit the post and then bounced back off goalkeeper Yohann Pele.
Moments before halftime, Marseille playmaker Dimitri Payet swiveled to meet winger Florian Thauvin's cross from the left with a superb half-volley.
Mbappe, recently impressive against Manchester City in the Champions League, scored his 13th goal of the season midway through the second half. He timed his run to the front post perfectly, and then used a subtle touch to flick left back Benjamin Mendy's cross into the right corner.
However, Marseille winger Remy Cabella made it 2-2 with six minutes left, tucking away a pass from Japan right back Hiroki Sakai.
Monaco's third started deep inside its own half and ended with Mbappe bursting through from halfway before unselfishly squaring for Mendy. But poor defending gifted Cabella his second goal of the night.
Lemar thumped home the winner from Mendy's pass with seven minutes left in extra time.
NIORT 0, PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 2
Substitute Javier Pastore scored an opportunist late goal and then set up Edinson Cavani.
With 12 minutes remaining, Pastore reacted quickly to slide in Christopher Nkunku's whipped free kick.
After Niort's goalkeeper Artur Desmas went close to equalizing in injury time following a corner, there was just enough time for Pastore to break down the left wing and set up Cavani's 36th of a prolific season.
Niort is in 12th place in the second tier and had lost three out of its previous four games. But driving rain, plus a slippery and muddy pitch, reduced the obvious gap in playing ability.
"Niort's players were very committed," PSG right back Thomas Meunier said. "We had a lot of trouble scoring against them."
Meanwhile, first division Guingamp advanced after winning 2-1 away to third-tier side Quevilly-Rouen.
BASTIA 2, NANTES 2
In the night's only league game, Bastia overcame an early sending off to lead 2-0 - only to throw it away.
Despite having defender Alexander Djiku sent off in the 10th minute, the Corsican side was 2-0 up with 15 minutes left thanks to goals from midfielders Gael Danic and Prince Oniangue.
Striker Emiliano Salo and defender Diego Carlos rescued a point for Nantes, which is in 11th place while Bastia remains in the relegation zone.