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Monaco win comfortably in Falcao absence

Paris (AFP) – Monaco shrugged off the absence of leading scorer Radamel Falcao as they eased to a 2-0 victory away at Bordeaux in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

Keita Balde and Thomas Lemar scored second-half goals for the defending champions, who close back to within four points of league leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG, without the suspended Neymar, had maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign by brushing aside Nice 3-0 on Friday thanks to a brace from Edinson Cavani and a Dante own goal.

Cavani now has 99 Ligue 1 goals and 11 this season, leaving him just two point behind Falcao at the top of the scorers’ charts.

The Colombian scored a hat-trick when Monaco won 4-0 in Bordeaux last season but missed this trip due to a thigh injury — he hopes to return for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Besiktas in Istanbul.

In his absence here, coach Leonardo Jardim selected former Lazio forward Balde to spearhead the principality side’s attack and he opened the scoring just before the hour mark.

Brazilian left-back Jorge delivered a ball into the box that was met by Moutinho with a cushioned header down for Balde to finish.

It was his second goal in as many matches after he netted the opener in the 2-0 win over Caen last weekend.

France winger Lemar then made it 2-0 on 65 minutes, collecting a long ball forward by Kamil Glik and cutting in from the left before firing home.

Bordeaux could not get back into the game and have now taken just one point from their last four outings as they sit seventh.

Third-placed Nantes can move back to within two points of Monaco with a win at Dijon later as Claudio Ranieri’s side look to extend a run of eight league games without defeat.

Meanwhile, bottom club Metz, who have lost nine of their 10 Ligue 1 matches this season, on Saturday announced the appointment of Frederic Hantz, 51, as their new coach.

Hantz, who has previously coached Bastia and Montpellier in the top flight, succeeds Philippe Hinschberger who was sacked last weekend.

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