Paris, March 17: Second-half substitute Stevan Jovetic made his mark as second-placed Monaco came from behind to defeat relegation-threatened Lille 2-1 at home in the 30th round action of the Ligue 1 football championship.
After extending their unbeaten league run to 15 matches with the victory over Lille on Friday, second-placed Monaco are seven points ahead of Marseille, who will host fourth-ranked Lyon on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.
The second-placed team in Ligue 1 will earn an automatic qualification to next season’s UEFA Champions League group stage.
Colombian striker Radaeml Falcao returned to Monaco’s starting line-up after being sidelined for over one month due to his thigh concern.
Lille, second from the bottom, surprisingly opened their scoring account in the 16th minute, as South African striker Lebo Mothiba was left unmarked to comfortably convert Thiago Mendes’ cross from the right flank.
Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic was forced to make two saves on attempts from Nicolas Pepe and Thiago Maia during a one-minute span.
The defending champions managed to find an equaliser just before the interval. After collecting central defender Kamil Glik’s long pass, Keita Balde fed Rony Lopes for his 10th goal of the campaign in the 44th minute.
Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim brought Jovetic on for Balde just after the restart. The substitution turned out to be effective in the 61st minute, when the Montenegro forward latched onto Joao Moutinho’s clinical cross to cleverly chip past goalkeeper Mike Maignan.
Paris Saint-Germain, who possess a 14-point lead atop the table, will visit Nice on Sunday. The kick-off time is arranged at 1 p.m. local time to cater to the needs of the Asian football fans.