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Monaco claim first French football title in 17 years


Monaco (AFP) – Teenage star Kylian Mbappe helped Monaco secure their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years with his 15th goal of the season in Wednesday’s 2-0 victory at home to Saint-Etienne.

The 18-year-old raced clear of the visiting defence to nervelessly roll in the opening goal after 19 minutes at the Stade Louis II as Paris Saint-Germain’s four-year reign as French champions came to an end.

Valere Germain added a second with the final kick of the match.

Leonardo Jardim’s side were effectively guaranteed the title after Sunday’s 4-0 win over Lille due to their vastly superior goal difference and needed just a point to secure an eighth league crown.

Monaco’s 11th straight victory bumped them up to 92 points, six ahead of PSG, and they can match the capital club’s single-season record of 30 wins in Saturday’s final game at Rennes.

Not since Claude Puel guided a squad featuring Fabien Barthez, David Trezeguet and Willy Sagnol to the 1999-2000 title had Monaco been crowned kings of France.

Saint-Etienne held Monaco to a 1-1 draw in October, but Christophe Galtier’s side arrived in the principality low on confidence after their 5-0 thrashing by PSG and decimated by injury.

Mbappe’s meteoric rise this season has seen him torment some of Europe’s leading clubs and it was hardly surprising the teenager made the crucial breakthrough after a cautious start.

Stephane Ruffier palmed away a Mbappe snapshot with the first real chance, but there was little he could do moments later when the striker latched onto Radamel Falcao’s threaded pass and calmly rounded the Saint-Etienne goalkeeper before slotting home.

Monaco were far from their free-flowing best which had seen them rack up over 100 goals in the league this term, with Danijel Subasic forced to save from a Florentin Pogba header.

However Radamel Falcao came close to providing Monaco with added breathing space when his powerful header from a corner was superbly kept out by Ruffier.

Saint-Etienne youngster Arnaud Nordin charged through the left-hand side of the Monaco defence after setting off from inside his own half, but his effort lacked the pace to trouble Subasic.

Jordan Veretout then skipped beyond Subasic following Henri Saivet’s through ball, but Poland international Kamil Glik recovered in time to deny the on-loan Aston Villa midfielder.

Germain should have sealed the victory on 74 minutes when Mbappe slid the ball across only for the Monaco academy product to shin wide with Ruffier well out of the picture.

But he made amends deep into stoppage time as Thomas Lemar sprang a counter-attack that left Germain with the simplest of tap-ins to complete a memorable evening.

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