Monaco title challenge fades after draw at Montpellier
PARIS — Monaco drew at Montpellier 0-0 on Saturday and further relinquished its grip on the French title it won so convincingly last season.
If league leader Paris Saint-Germain wins at fifth-place Nantes on Sunday it will move 11 points clear of Monaco with 20 of 38 matches played.
Monaco scored more than 150 goals in all competitions last season, finishing eight points ahead of PSG in Ligue 1, plus reached the Champions League semifinals.
But Monaco sold four key players in the off-season and was toothless against the best defence in France, especially without rested top scorer Radamel Falcao.
Eighth-place Montpellier has conceded only 13 goals in 20 league games — two less than PSG — and it showed as Monaco failed to muster clear chances.
Monaco will drop to third if Lyon beats Angers at home on Saturday.
Next up for Monaco, meanwhile, is a French Riviera derby at home to Nice on Tuesday.
Nice is in sixth place after scraping a 1-0 home win against Amiens, with midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou scoring with a deflected effort midway through the second half.
THAUVIN MAKES HIS MARK
Winger Florian Thauvin joined PSG’s Neymar as the best passer in the league and added a goal as fourth-place Marseille won at Rennes 3-0.
He almost got an incredible fourth goal for Marseille in injury time, hitting the crossbar with a delightful floating chip from near the halfway line.
Thauvin has nine assists, in addition to nine league goals, and is staking a strong claim for a place in France’s squad for the World Cup in …read more