Monaco continue poor start to French season


Paris (AFP) – Monaco’s slow start to the Ligue 1 season continued on Saturday as the principality side went down 2-0 at home to Lens as both sides finished with 10 men.

Niko Kovac’s Monaco came into this campaign with high hopes after finishing third last season, but second-half goals by Cameroonian forward Ignatius Ganago and substitute Simon Banza gave Lens the victory at the Stade Louis II.

Monaco, who had Russian international Aleksandr Golovin sent off late on, have picked up just one point from their opening three Ligue 1 matches and lie eight points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Much now rests on the second leg of Monaco’s Champions League play-off tie against Shakhtar Donetsk, with Kovac’s side heading to Ukraine on Wednesday trailing 1-0 after the first leg.

Ganago gave Lens the lead six minutes into the second half in the principality, easily getting away from Strahinja Pavlovic to break into the box and score.

The away side then lost midfielder Cheick Doucoure, sent off for a challenge on Krepin Diatta just after the hour but Monaco could not make their one-man advantage count.

Instead, Golovin was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Banza late on, and Lens sealed the win in added time as Przemyslaw Frankoswki squared for Banza to finish.

Reigning champions Lille, who have themselves taken just one point from a possible six, go to Saint-Etienne later.

On Friday, PSG made it three wins out of three as Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria both netted in a 4-2 win at Brest.

Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gana Gueye were also on target for a PSG side still missing both Lionel Messi and Neymar, neither of whom is yet fit to play.

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