Paris (AFP) – French champions Monaco were held to a 1-1 draw at newly-promoted Amiens on Friday despite an equaliser from Stevan Jovetic to drop two points in the Ligue 1 title race.
Christophe Pelissier’s home side took a shock 31st-minute lead through Serge Gakpe, but Jovetic came off the bench in the second half to equalise.
Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain can move six points clear of Monaco when they welcome Nantes to the Parc des Princes on Saturday, after Leonardo Jardim’s men saw a three-match winning streak come to an end.
Monaco went into the game four points adrift of PSG, but were boosted by the return from injury of captain Radamel Falcao.
The Colombian quickly went in search of his 14th league goal of the season, but twice fired wide before being denied by the legs of Amiens goalkeeper Regis Gurtner.
The Stade de la Licorne burst into life just after the half-hour mark as Togo international Gakpe surged through on goal and confidently slotted into the corner to score his first Amiens goal.
The visitors almost got a leveller on the stroke of half-time, but after Gurtner failed to deal with a high ball into the area, Monaco centre-back Jemerson sent a lob over the crossbar.
Amiens started the second period brightly and almost moved further ahead, but striker Moussa Konate headed over when he was totally unmarked just a few yards from goal.
Falcao went close again as he brought a diving stop from Gurtner with a curling effort from the edge of the box, before Guido Carrillo’s header grazed the outside of the post just seconds later.
Having already replaced Rony Lopes with Rachid Ghezzal at the interval, Jardim sent on Jovetic just after the hour mark and it took the Montenegrin international less than six minutes to make his mark.
The former Inter Milan striker grabbed the equaliser by picking out the bottom corner after excellent work from Fabinho to score his second goal for the club.
But it was Amiens who looked more likely to find a late winner as ex-Chelsea forward Gael Kakuta nodded over.
Monaco will now turn their attention to Tuesday’s clash with RB Leipzig, when last year’s semi-finalists could win and yet still be eliminated from the Champions League.
– Lille ease pressure on Bielsa –
Earlier on Friday, Lille beat Saint-Etienne 3-1 to ease the pressure on under-fire Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa and move out of the Ligue 1 relegation zone.
The second straight win dragged Lille out of the bottom two, having ended a nine-match winless streak with a 3-0 victory over Metz before the international break.
Saint-Etienne stay sixth in the table, after losing their first game under new coach Julien Sable since Oscar Garcia quit this week.
Lille forward Nicolas Pepe leapt highest at the back post to open the scoring in the 20th minute at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Jonathan Bamba fired home a penalty on the stroke of half-time to equalise for the visitors, but the hosts retook the lead in the 71st minute.
Brazilian Thiago Mendes proved the difference, as the 25-year-old midfielder curled in from outside the area to score his second goal for Lille since joining from Sao Paulo in the close season.
Striker Ezequiel Ponce added some gloss to the scoreline with a minute of normal time to play as he slotted in his first goal since signing on loan from Roma.
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