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Champions Monaco slip up

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.

“We didn’t meet out objectives, especially in the first half — our ball control was poor, we misplayed a lot of passes and our teamwork wasn’t good enough,” Jardim said.

“But if the first half was negative, the second was better.”

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 and it took the Montenegrin international less than six minutes to make his mark.

The former Inter Milan striker picked 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 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.

Nicolas Pepe gave Lille the lead, and although Jonathan Bamba levelled from the penalty spot, Brazilian Thiago Mendes curled in and Ezequiel Ponce rounded off the scoring late on.

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.

“It’s definitely one of our best performances of the season, which is a relief,” said Bielsa.

“But we need to follow it up by stabilising our place in the table and the level of our performances.”

Saint-Etienne stay sixth in the table after losing their first game under new coach Julien Sable since Oscar Garcia quit this week.

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