AS Monaco saw their championship chances dented on Saturday as they were forced to come back twice before snatching a 2-2 draw at Lorient to fall five points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.
It took an 88th-minute equalizer from Layvin Kurzawa to save pride for Claudio Ranieri’s men as the visitors were staring down the barrel of defeat with time running out.
“I’m disappointed, I thought Monaco deserved the win,” Ranieri said.
“It was a good game, but that’s footbal,” he said.
Lorient, who went into the match in 10th spot and within touching distance of the European places, took a shock lead on 13 minutes when Monaco failed to clear a corner.
Kevin Monnet-Paquet picked up the loose ball following a poor clearance and whipped in a cross that Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar met with a firm header to beat Croatian goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.
However, with halftime looming Ranieri’s men equalized on 41 minutes thanks to a clinical finish from Valere Germain. Emmanuel Riviere was the catalyst as he broke into the penalty area, before laying off a perfect pass for Germain, who made no mistake from close range.
The second half provided a more balanced affair with both teams struggling to create clean scoring chances, before Jeremie Aliadiere appeared to grab the winner with 17 minutes left.
The striker who began his career at Arsenal before spells at Celtic, West Ham United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Middlesbrough, banged the ball home from a rebound to pile the pressure on Monaco, before Kurzawa came to their rescue.
Monaco now know next Sunday’s home clash against Paris Saint-Germain is a must-win situation with their deficit increased to five points after the leaders defeated Girondins de Bordeaux 2-0 on Friday.
Later on Saturday, AS Saint-Etienne moved to within one point of third spot with a 3-0 defeat of Valenciennes at home.
Nantes failed to put pressure on the leading pack as they fell 1-0 at second-from-bottom Sochaux-Montbeliard — a win would have lifted them to fifth.
Stade de Reims lost 4-2 at home to Montpellier Herault, Evian Thonon Gaillard and AC Ajaccio’s key relegation battle ended all square at 1-1, while En Avant de Guingamp lost 3-2 at SC Bastia.