Monaco edge past Valenciennes
Nabil Dirar's late strike saw Monaco scrape a 2-1 victory at relegated Valenciennes.
Last Updated: 10/05/14 11:51pm
Nabil Dirar's late strike saw Monaco scrape a 2-1 victory at relegated Valenciennes in an effectively dead rubber Ligue 1 contest.
Valere Germain put the visitors in front five minutes before the break but Claudio Ranieri's men looked set for a second successive 1-1 draw with lowly opposition - following their home clash with Guingamp on Wednesday - when Tongo Doumbia levelled with 20 minutes to go.
Dirar then came to their rescue, firing past Nicolas Penneteau in fine style in the 87th minute.
With the 19th-placed hosts already down and their opponents guaranteed to finish as runners-up behind champions Paris St Germain, there was little play to for.
But Valenciennes made a positive start, with Majeed Waris calling goalkeeper Sergio Romero into action with a shot in the opening few seconds.
Monaco hit back in the 10th minute as Germain rattled a powerful strike against the crossbar.
There was another chance for Monaco seven minutes later, with Yannick Ferreira Carrasco through on goal but denied by a fabulous save from the outrushing Penneteau.
The game then became the more subdued affair that might have been expected, until the 40th minute, when Ferreira-Carrasco provided the tee up with a great corner delivery from which Germain converted past the helpless Penneteau.
Germain tried his luck again soon after the break with Valenciennes having given away possession, but his shot was well blocked by Carl Medjani.
The equaliser arrived when Arthur Masuaku plays a perfect low cross into the Monaco box and Doumbia applied a cool, left-footed finish.
And Valenciennes might have turned the game on its head within eight minutes as Waris played a back heel into the path of Gregory Pujol and the Monaco defence managed to put in a goal-saving block to keep the shot out from six yards.
The away side then came close to reclaiming the lead as Penneteau denied Germain.
But Monaco did go ahead soon after, Dirar cracking in a sublime effort that gave the goalkeeper no chance.