Paris (AFP) – Nerveless Fabinho chipped in a late penalty winner as Monaco beat Guingamp 2-1 away on Saturday to move clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table once again.
Kamil Glik gave the principality side the lead in Brittany and Fabinho netted with a “Panenka” from the spot with four minutes left before Etienne Didot pulled one back late on for the hosts.
It was a welcome return to winning ways for Monaco after their 5-3 defeat to Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in midweek.
Leonardo Jardim’s side are three points clear at the summit from Nice, who came from behind to beat Montpellier 2-1 on Friday with a brace from substitute Mickael Le Bihan in his first appearance in 17 months after injury.
Reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain are six points behind the leaders in third place before they visit bitter rivals Marseille on Sunday evening.
Monaco were without the banned defensive duo of Benjamin Mendy and Andrea Raggi at the Stade du Roudourou as Jemerson, Almamy Toure, Joao Moutinho and Valere Germain all came into the side.
Guingamp had won just one of their previous eight games but beat Marseille, PSG and Lyon at home this season and they had the ball in the net in the 21st minute.
However, Moustapha Diallo’s headed effort from a Yannis Salibur cross was disallowed for offside.
Monaco took the lead just three minutes later as a Thomas Lemar free-kick was inadvertently helped on by Guingamp captain Jimmy Briand and Polish stopper Glik was there at the back post, stretching his leg to turn the ball in.
Radamel Falcao almost doubled the lead from an overhead kick before the interval but the Colombian was off the field by the time the second goal did arrive.
Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, on from the bench, was put through on goal by Fabinho but was brought down by ‘keeper Karl-Johan Johnsson and a penalty was awarded.
Falcao missed from the spot against City and also squandered a penalty against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League earlier in the season.
Fabinho, though, has a superb record from the spot and he scored his 11th penalty out of 11 taken in Ligue 1 in style.
Didot’s crisp finish from the edge of the box had Monaco hanging on for the last few moments, but they held on for the win and are now unbeaten in nine league outings.