Paris (AFP) – Gabriel Boschilia’s strike gave Monaco a 1-0 win at Nantes on Saturday, despite coach Leonardo Jardim making wholesale changes ahead of their Champions League play-off, second leg against Villarreal on Tuesday.
Brazilian winger Boschilia grabbed the only goal of the game with a first-half free-kick, and a toothless Nantes outfit never seriously threatened a much-changed Monaco team.
Jardim’s principality side claimed a 2-1 away win in Spain on Wednesday to close in on a place in the Champions League group stage.
Bernardo Silva scored the winner at El Madrigal in midweek, after also coming off the bench to grab his team a 2-2 draw at Guingamp last weekend in their Ligue 1 opener.
Portuguese coach Jardim made eight alterations to the starting XI that beat Villarreal, resting Fabinho and Silva, who had scored four goals in the last week between them, altogether.
Monaco surprisingly fell two goals behind to Guingamp last week before rescuing a point, but they started brightly at the Stade de la Beaujoire on Saturday and forged ahead in the 25th minute.
Debutant Corentin Jean, signed from relegated Troyes, was brought down in a dangerous area by Diego Carlos.
Boschilia, making his first appearance since returning from a loan spell at Belgian club Standard Liege, curled an excellent left-footed free-kick past Nantes goalkeeper Remy Riou and into the top corner.
Nantes defender Diego Carlos came close to an equaliser shortly after half-time, but his towering header landed on the roof of the net.
The Canaries had another opportunity just before the hour mark, but Nicolaj Thomsen, who scored their winner on his debut last weekend at Dijon, headed straight at visiting keeper Danijel Subasic when unmarked in the area.
A brawl broke out late on as the Nantes players were left frustrated in their attempts to salvage a point, but Monaco held on to the three points with little trouble.