Ibrahima Toure’s rich vein of form for former giants AS Monaco continued on Wednesday as his brace inspired the 2004 UEFA Champions League finalists to a 4-2 home win over Ligue 1 opponents Valenciennes and a place in the round-of-16 of the French League Cup.
Toure — who scored a hat-trick for Monaco in last Friday’s 4-0 demolition of other former French champions fallen on tough times, Lens — scored their first and fourth goals to round off a highly satisfactory evening for the Ligue 2 leaders.
Monaco, relegated from Ligue 1 in 2010-2011, powered through after recovering from a disastrous start. Valenciennes looked to be cruising to a straightforward win after Gael Danic and an Andreas Wolf own-goal put them 2-0 up after 32 minutes, but Senegalese striker Toure, who has scored nine goals in eight Ligue 2 games this season, pulled one back in the 35th minute with a close-range header.
Yannick Ferraira Carrasco then equalized from the penalty spot on the stroke of halftime.
Lucas Ocampos added a third after being set up by Toure 14 minutes into the first half of extra-time, before Toure sealed the win in the last minute.
Wednesday’s early game saw Claude Puel-coached OGC Nice beat 10-man Stade Brestois 29 4-2 away, with Argentine striker Dario Cvitanich scoring a brace which were his first goals for the club, inflicting Brest’s first home defeat of the campaign.
“These type of games are never easy,” Puel said.
“We made a good start and then tried too hard to run the show,” he said.
“However, I saw enough positive things there to encourage me for what is to come,” added the 51-year-old, who as a rookie coach guided Monaco to the 2000 Ligue 1 title.
There was a minor shock as Ligue 2 outfit AC Arles-Avignon eliminated Ligue 1 side AC Ajaccio 2-1, though the Corsican team barely looked motivated for the assignment and surrendered limply.
The French clubs involved in European competition (Montpellier Herault, Paris Saint-Germain, LOSC Lille Metropole, Olympique Lyonnais, Griondins de Bordeaux and Olympique de Marseille, who are also the holders) enter the competition at the round-of-16 stage.
Wednesday’s other results:
‧ Stade de Reims 1,
ES Troyes AC 2
‧ Stade Malherbe Caen 0,
‧ Sochaux-Montbeliard 3,
Evian Thonon Gaillard 2 AET
‧ Lorient 1,
AS Saint-Etienne 1 AET
Saint-Etienne win 3-0 on