Sun, Aug 16, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Monaco remain top despite uninspiring draw against Lille

AFP, PARIS

Monaco’s Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva jumps for a header during their match against Lille on Friday at the Stade Louis II in Monaco.

Photo: AFP

AS Monaco took a brief hold on top spot in the French league after just two games despite being held to a drab goalless draw at home by LOSC Lille on Friday night.

However, their stay is unlikely to last 24 hours as Saturday night’s fixtures seem sure to see them overhauled.

An error-ridden match yielded few chances, although Monaco had the visitors pegged back in their own half for virtually the first half-hour but were unable to capitalize on some swift running down the left by Portuguese winger Ivan Cavaleiro.

In the end it was Lille who finished the stronger, but neither side ever seriously threatened to break the deadlock. Having allowed a few early careless tackles to pass unpunished, referee Benoit Millot had no hesitation in reaching into his pocket for the first yellow card of the evening 24 minutes in after Lille defender Sebastien Corchia went in late on Cavaleiro with a crude challenge.

Corchia’s interest in the game ended shortly afterwards, however, when he was involved in a clash of heads with Cavaleiro as they both went up for a cross in the area and he was laid out before being hauled off and taken to hospital as a precaution.

Monaco should probably have taken the lead a minute before the interval when Joao Moutinho struck a perfect free kick which Lille’s Nigerian international goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama scrambled behind for a corner after Argentina defender Renato Civelli had got himself booked for a late challenge on Jeremy Toulalan.

Lille’s first real chance came just after the restart when Baptiste Guillaume slipped in behind the home defense and clipped a Sofiane Boufal pass straight at goalkeeper Danijel Subasic.

The keeper had to be at his sharpest again two minutes later to clear a second Guillaume shot with his feet after he was put through again by the lively Boufal down the left.

Former Monaco midfielder Mounir Obbadi appeared to receive his marching orders for a foul on Fabinho with a quarter of an hour left, but the referee changed his mind after consulting the linesman and booked Boufal instead.

From the resulting free kick, Ricardo Cavalho rose smartly to flick on a header which Eyneama had to be at full stretch to save.

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