Radamel Falcao scored to help AS Monaco salvage a 1-1 draw with Evian Thonon Gaillard and pull within two points of leaders Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.
Evian midfielder Daniel Wass outpaced the Monaco defense to open the scoring in the 21st minute, before Falcao fired into the bottom corner in the 27th for his ninth league goal this season.
“It’s a good point for us,” Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said. “We played poorly and Evian would have deserved to win 3-1 tonight.”
Evian threatened in the opening minute with a free-kick from midfielder Cedric Barbosa that took a deflection off the wall, but Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic made the save.
However, the hosts soon put Evian on the back foot. Evian goalkeeper Jesper Hansen palmed away a bouncing volley from Yannick Ferreira Carrasco in the 17th minute, before Monaco winger Lucas Ocampos wasted a good chance in the 20th by unleashing a low drive wide while an unmarked Falcao was waiting for a low cross at the far post.
A goal-kick from Hansen helped Evian score against the run of play. Evian striker Pape Amodou Sougou redirected it toward Wass, who held off a challenge from Layvin Kurzawa to shoot past Subasic.
Evian came close to doubling the lead in the 25th minute when Sougou skipped past Monaco midfielder Jeremy Toulalan, but Subasic quickly came off his line to deny the Evian striker.
Monaco dominated possession, but they equalized on a counterattack. Colombia international James Rodriguez slipped a through ball to Falcao, who scored with a diagonal shot.
Evian were dealt a blow in the 33rd minute when Barbosa picked up a shoulder injury and was replaced by Nicolas Benezet.
Rodriguez took the Evian defense by surprise in the 43rd minute by sending a corner outside the area for Toulalan, whose low volley sailed wide.
Monaco pushed for the winner in the second half by playing with two strikers, after Emmanuel Riviere replaced Ferreira Carrasco in the 68th minute, but it was Evian who created the best chances.
Sougou charged down a clearance from Monaco centerback Eric Abidal to be clean through on goal in the 65th minute, but Subasic stopped his effort with his right foot. Subasic also parried long-range strikes from Evian substitute Dan Nistor in the 74th and the 84th minutes.
The Monaco goalkeeper was then lucky to see Sougou fire over the bar from close range in the 82nd minute.
Despite Evian’s pressure, Monaco nearly netted the winner in the 88th minute when Ocampos struck the post.
“We have a lot of regrets, but we should not be ashamed of our performance,” Sougou said. “If we had converted our chances, we could have won this match.”
Evian provisionally moved into 12th place.
Leaders Paris Saint-Germain were scheduled to host OGC Nice yesterday. Today, AS Saint-Etienne host Olympique Lyonnais, Nantes visits Girondins de Bordeaux and Olympique de Marseille face Sochaux-Montbeliard.