Monaco close the gap
Monaco cut the gap on leaders Paris Saint Germain to two points with an impressive 3-0 win over Nice
Last Updated: 03/12/13 10:20pm
Monaco shortened the gap on Paris Saint Germain to two points at the top of Ligue 1 with an impressive 3-0 win over Nice in the Allianz Riviera.
Goals from James Rodriguez, Emmanuel Riviere and a late Lucas Ocampos strike sealed all three points for Claudio Ranieri's men, who were without top-scorer Radamel Falcao due to a thigh injury.
An eight successive defeat for Nice left them languishing in 15th in Ligue 1, their worst position since the opening day of the season, and heaped pressure on manager Claude Puel.
Monaco wasted no time in stamping their authority on their Cote d'Azur neighbours and found themselves a goal up inside six minutes.
Italian full-back Andre Raggi released Rodriguez in behind the hosts' defence and, with only Luca Veronese to beat, the Colombian calmly slotted in.
Nice almost offered an instant reply but Valentin Eysseric shot straight at Daniel Subasic after Christian Bruls picked him out inside the area in what was a frantic start to the game.
Then, with only 23 minutes played, Ranieri's men found themselves two up after some superb build-up play cut open the Nice defence.
Mounir Obbadi played a great ball to release Anthony Martial in behind and the wideman's cross found Riviere who headed beyond Veronese.
The visitors were not having everything their own way though as Subasic had to be alert and got a good hand to Dario Cvitnaich's effort before he turned away Eysseric's cheeky curling shot which threatened to catch out Monaco's keeper.
Riviere could, and should, have tripled the visitors' lead but, after Rodriguez played him, the former Toulouse man chipped over the crossbar just before the break.
Monaco picked up where they left off in the second half with Rodriguez going close again, curling a 20-yard effort just beyond the post as the visitors threatened to run riot.
The impressive Colombian continued to terrorise the Nice defence and, shortly before being withdrawn on 79 minutes, the former Porto winger should have done better after being picked out by Layvin Kurzawa but could only blaze over from inside the area.
The visitors made sure of the points late on in superb style when Ocampos finished with aplomb after rounding Veronese following a rare Mathieu Bodmer error.