Sun, Apr 05, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Monaco, St Etienne lose ground after stalemate

‘LE CLASSIQUE’:Two-time defending champions PSG are scheduled to face off with Olympique de Marseille today, a matchup they have won six times in a row

AFP, PARIS

AS Monaco’s Valere Germain, front, vies for the ball with AS St Etienne’s Theophile Catherine during their French Ligue 1 match at the Stade Louis II in Monaco on Friday.

Photo: AFP

AS Monaco came back to earn a 1-1 draw at home to AS Saint-Etienne on Friday as both teams lost ground on the leading trio at the top of Ligue 1.

Two-time defending champions Paris Saint-Germain continue to lead Olympique Lyonnais by a point, and today’s opponents Olympique de Marseille by two, while Monaco climbed within five of the capital club in fourth, having played the same number of matches. Saint-Etienne remain solid in fifth and six points off the pace having played a game more.

“We have some regrets, yes. I think we had the best chances, the best situations, even before scoring,” Saint-Etienne coach Christophe Galtier said.

Mevlut Erding put the visitors in front 28 minutes from time with a glorious glancing header that stunned the home crowd following a cross from Franck Tabanou. Turkish international and former Paris Saint-Germain striker, Erding, 28, met the ball perfectly as he ran into the box and sent his header past the stranded Danijel Subasic and into the Monaco goal.

However, the lead was short-lived, as Leonardo Jardim’s men were back on level terms six minutes later when Anthony Martial clipped the ball home when picked out inside the area. The two best defenses in the top flight then locked up shop as neither team were able to find a late winner.

“I’m disappointed because our aim is always to win,” Jardim said. “But we were up against good opponents who knew how to get in behind us. That created difficulties for us.”

PSG can strike a major blow in the title race by continuing their impressive recent record against Marseille when the bitter rivals meet at the Stade Velodrome on today.

Laurent Blanc’s side, who are still in the running for four trophies, have spent most of the season playing catch-up at the top, but finally reached the summit after beating Lorient 3-1 in their last outing a fortnight ago.

Blanc’s side have dominated the fixture known as “Le Classique” in recent years, with their 2-0 win at the Parc des Princes in November last year their sixth in a row against l’OM.

With their main rivals facing each other, Lyon will hope to take advantage when they meet En Avant de Guingamp this weekend.

Elsewhere, Girondins de Bordeaux, in sixth, host Racing Club de Lens today, while bottom side Metz were scheduled to entertain fellow strugglers Toulouse and Lorient to host Brittany rivals Stade Rennes yesterday.

LA LIGA

AP, MADRID

Goals by Alberto Bueno and Manucho helped Rayo Vallecano de Madrid rally to beat Sociedad Deportiva Eibar 2-1 away on Friday in the Spanish league.

The match started badly for Rayo when its goalkeeper, Cristian Alvarez, brought down Federico Piovaccari in the area and Mikel Arrubarrena converted the penalty in the 35th minute.

However, Eibar’s lead was short-lived, as Bueno equalized five minutes later when he athletically headed home Alberto “Tito” Roman’s cross.

Two minutes later, Angola striker Manucho added another for Rayo.

The match grew bad-tempered and Eibar defender Raul Navas was sent off in the fifth minute of added time.

Rayo rose two places to provisional ninth in the standings on 38 points, while Eibar is 14th on 27th.

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