Berbatov double boosts Monaco
Dimitar Berbatov bagged a brace as Monaco kept the Ligue 1 title race alive by thrashing Ajaccio 4-1.
Last Updated: 26/04/14 6:41pm
Dimitar Berbatov bagged a brace as Monaco kept the Ligue 1 title race alive for another day at least after a rousing second-half display saw them trounce already-relegated Ajaccio 4-1.
Following a goalless opening half, Monaco came to life after the interval, with Berbatov scoring twice and although Gadji Tallo pulled a goal back for the hosts, Claudio Ranieri's men ensured victory thanks to strikes late on from Geoffrey Kondogbia and Lucas Ocampos.
A defeat for Monaco at the Stade Francois Coty would have handed the title to Paris St Germain, who can retain their league crown with victory at Sochaux on Sunday.
And that nearly came to fruition as Monaco rode their luck in the opening 45 minutes.
It was the visitors who had the first real chance, with Andrea Raggi flicking on Berbatov's cross to Joao Moutinho, whose strike was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Yet Ajaccio would dominate for the remainder of the half and Dennis Oliech and Benjamin Andre both saw decent strikes saved by Monaco custodian Danijel Subasic, who made another stop from Andre on the stroke of half-time following the midfielder's strike from the edge of the area.
Yet, the Corsican side were made to pay for their failure to make their dominance pay as Berbatov finally opened the scoring after 53 minutes, heading home from close range following Moutinho's cross from the left.
Boosted by the goal, Monaco continued to pour forward and Rodriguez saw a shot superbly blocked by Ochoa before former Tottenham and Manchester United forward Berbatov doubled their lead in the 74th minute, finishing a flowing move involving Emmanuel Riviere and Rodriguez.
Against the run of play, Ajaccio pulled one back almost immediately afterwards as Tallo expertly volleyed high into the net from Paul Lasne's cross.
But his efforts were in vain as Kondogbia coolly slotted past Ochoa after being left unmarked in the area in the 88th minute, while Ocampos was also afforded too much space in injury time and he finished expertly at the far post from Nabil Dirar's right-wing cross.