Monaco keep cool ahead of Mar­seille cru­cial clash

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

PARIS:

Monaco mid­fielder Bernardo Silva brushed off com­par­isons be­tween the Ligue 1 ti­tle con­tenders and Europe’s heavy­weights ahead of to­day’s visit of tra­di­tional French gi­ants Mar­seille. Leonardo Jardim’s side qual­i­fied for the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League in mid­week as win­ners of Group E fol­low­ing a 2-1 vic­tory over Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur and find them­selves locked in a three-way bat­tle with Nice and Paris Saint-Ger­main in France.

Monaco have ter­ror­ized op­pos­ing de­fenses with a Euro­pean-high 39 league goals, gen­er­at­ing gen­uine be­lief they can top­ple reign­ing cham­pi­ons PSG to land a first top-flight ti­tle since 2000. “We know we’re good but we must keep on work­ing. There are still things to im­prove. We play very at­tack­ing foot­ball, we score lots of goals but we can never be per­fect,” said Por­tuguese in­ter­na­tional Silva. “To be com­pared with Real Madrid or Barcelona is great but we’re not at the same level. We can’t get car­ried away. “We have a bit more ex­pe­ri­ence this year, but com­pared to the gi­ants of Europe, we still have a long way to go.” Monaco have col­lected 16 of a pos­si­ble 18 points at the Stade Louis II and could again pro­vi­sion­ally re­place lead­ers Nice at the top with vic­tory over Mar­seille, who se­cured their first win un­der new coach Rudi Gar­cia last week­end. Unai Emery’s PSG seized con­trol of their Cham­pi­ons League destiny with a 2-2 draw at Ar­se­nal on Wed­nes­day, leav­ing them as heavy fa­vorites to wrap up first place in Group A. “We al­most played the per­fect match,” mid­fielder Blaise Ma­tu­idi told Canal+. “These matches al­low us French Ligue 1 ta­ble ahead of this week­end’s matches (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, points): Nice 13 10 Monaco 13 9 Paris SG 13 9 Lyon 13 7 Guingamp 13 6 Rennes 13 6 Bordeaux 13 5 Toulouse 13 5 Saint-Eti­enne 13 4 Angers 13 5 Mar­seille 13 4 Metz 13 5 Mont­pel­lier 13 3 Di­jon 13 3 Caen 13 4 Bas­tia 13 3 Nantes 13 3 Nancy 13 3 Lille 13 3 Lori­ent 13 2

Nice dumped out of Europe

2 2 2 1 4 3 5 4 6 3 5 2 6 5 1 3 3 3 1 1

to gauge our­selves and we showed that Paris are a great team.”

The cap­i­tal club have won five of their last six matches but face a tough as­sign­ment on Sun­day with a trip to resur­gent Lyon, who 1 2 2 5 3 4 3 4 3 5 4 6 4 5 8 7 7 7 9 10 25 39 26 21 18 14 16 17 14 12 13 13 20 16 10 10 9 8 10 9 9 15 7 16 13 17 14 12 11 12 13 22 27 18 22 13 18 19 19 23 32 29 29 22 22 21 20 19 18 18 17 17 15 14 13 12 12 12 10 7

snapped PSG’s long unbeaten run in the cor­re­spond­ing fix­ture at Parc OL last sea­son. Alexan­dre La­cazette’s sec­ond-half win­ner against Di­namo Za­greb kept alive Lyon’s hopes of pro­long­ing their Cham­pi­ons League ad­ven­ture and Bruno Ge­n­e­sio’s men are also chas­ing a fourth league vic­tory on the trot. —AFP

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