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Monaco crash again as Halilhodzic loses Nantes debut

Paris (AFP) – Monaco slumped to a fifth defeat in nine Ligue 1 matches as Hatem Ben Arfa earned Rennes a 2-1 victory on Sunday, while ex-Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic was beaten 3-0 on his return to French football following his appointment at former club Nantes.

Defender Damien Da Silva turned home a Ben Arfa corner to give Rennes, who arrived in the principality just two points above 18th-placed Monaco, the lead on 14 minutes.

Monaco’s Andrea Raggi was sent off for throwing a punch at Clement Grenier just before half-time, but the home side levelled early in the second half through Radamel Falcao.

However, Rennes secured a first win in five games as Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic allowed Ben Arfa’s powerful 25-yard drive to zip past him on 77 minutes, giving the former Paris Saint-Germain outcast his first league goal since April 2016.

Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco, runners-up to PSG last season, remain winless since the opening weekend and above the automatic relegation spots only on goal difference.

Earlier, Franco-Bosnian Halilhodzic watched his Nantes side slide to a heavy defeat at Bordeaux on a day to forget for on-loan Chelsea defender Matt Miazga.

The colourful 66-year-old Halilhodzic replaced Miguel Cardoso on Tuesday just eight games into the season, with Nantes having won just once in the Portuguese’s brief spell in charge.

Halilhodzic won a Ligue 1 title as a striker with Nantes in the 1980s, and later went on to coach Lille and Rennes but has not worked in France since he was fired by PSG in 2005.

– Kamano torments Nantes –

Since then he has coached clubs in Turkey, Croatia and Saudi Arabia. He also managed the national teams of Ivory Coast, Algeria — who he led to the knockout rounds at the 2014 World Cup — and Japan, where he was fired after guiding the Blue Samurai to qualification for this year’s finals in Russia.

Nantes’ rotten run showed no sign of abating though as Yann Karamoh curled in a brilliant opening goal after just five minutes.

They quickly found themselves two down after a mix-up between goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and US international Miazga allowed Francois Kamano to take full advantage.

Kamano struck again in a torrid first half for the visitors, winning and converting a penalty after a rash challenge from Miazga to move onto a joint-best seven league goals this term.

“This performance worries me. When one is subjected to such tactical and technical domination you understand why Nantes are in this position,” said Halilhodzic.

“If someone else had offered me this, I would never come. But I couldn’t refuse for Nantes. There’s still a considerable amount of work to be done.” 

Marseille rebounded from throwing away a two-goal lead at Apollon Limassol in the Europa League to climb third following a 2-0 victory over Caen.

Kostas Mitroglou and Florian Thauvin bagged first-half goals at the Velodrome, the latter moving level with Kamano, Neymar and Jonathan Bamba atop the goalscoring chart.

Thomas Tuchel’s PSG will bid for a record ninth consecutive win to start the season at home to Lyon later, having matched the mark set by Olympique Lillois in 1936 last weekend.

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