Second-place Monaco thrash struggling Toulouse
With Paris Saint-Germain 21 points clear in a lopsided French title race, Monaco tightened its grip on second place with a 4-0 win against struggling Toulouse on Sunday.
Monaco’s season got off to a stuttering start and morale was severely dented when it failed to beat Valencia in qualifying for a Champions League spot. But this impressive win keeps coach Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco side three points clear of third-place Nice.
Promising Portugal midfielder Bernardo Silva and countryman Fabio Coentrao scored in the first half, while forwards Guido Carrillo and Helder Costa netted after the break.
"We won in style for a change. It’s our best performance of the season," Jardim said. "The team played well tactically, was strong defensively and made some good decisions in attack."
Ivorian striker Lacina Traore had a goal disallowed for offside before setting up Silva’s 28th-minute opener with some great skill down the left.
Traore limped off moments later with a groin injury and was replaced by Carrillo.
Coentrao headed home in the 36th after Carrillo’s looping header came back off the crossbar.
Toulouse top scorer Wissam Ben Yedder’s low penalty was expertly saved by goalkeeper Danijel Subasic soon afterward.
Silva set up Carillo for a tap-in at the back post in the 71st, and Costa also scored from close range after Toulouse dealt poorly with a free-kick from the left.
"Bernardo Silva played well, close to his best level," Jardim said. "The players who came on added something extra."
Toulouse recently gave PSG two close games in the French league and the French Cup but remains in 19th place.
"We were weak on too many levels, we lost so many challenges in the first half it was unbelievable," Toulouse coach Dominique Arribage said. "In our position we have no right to play so poorly."
To compound the misery of those hoping to mount some challenge to PSG, seven-time champion Lyon and nine-time champion Marseille both trail by 30 points.
They fell further behind after drawing 1-1 in Sunday’s late game, with winger Remy Cabella firing visiting Marseille ahead in the 64th and midfielder Correntin Tolisso equalizing 15 minutes later.
"I’m very proud of the effort my players put in tonight," Marseille’s Spanish coach Michel said.
In an even contest, Marseille goalie Steve Mandanda thwarted Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette as he charged into the penalty area in the 26th, and beat away a shot from Rachid Ghezzal 10 minutes later after he was set up by fellow midfielder Mathieu Valbuena.
In between, Marseille striker Michy Batshuayi hit the post.
Prior to that chance, Marseille had twice gone close through Portugal defender Rolando and winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou.
Marseille scored when Batshuayi pulled the ball back for Cabella to beat goalkeeper Anthony Lopes with a first-time shot.
Tolisso swept the ball home following Valbuena’s free-kick from the right, even though Marseille had more players than Lyon in the penalty area.
"We put in so much effort that it’s a shame to concede a goal like that from a free-kick," said Mandanda, France’s No. 2 goalie behind Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris. "That’s what cost us three points."
A minute later, Lyon substitute Aldo Kalulu held his head in his hands after missing an open goal as Mandanda shouted furiously at his slack defenders.
Mandanda, who also made an outstanding reflex save to deny Valbuena, then reacted well to turn away Lacazette’s shot and Tolisso headed over in the last minute as Lyon finished strongly.
"We had a lot of chances in the second half. We absolutely wanted to win here, but we couldn’t," Tolisso said. "You have to praise Mandanda, he had a great game and his team can thank him."
Marseille is in eighth place and leads ninth-place Lyon on goal difference.
Earlier, Reims earned a last-gasp equalizer in a 1-1 home draw against Saint-Etienne.
Forward Jean-Christophe Bahebeck put the visitors ahead in the 60th but full back Aissa Mandi replied in the 89th.
PSG thrashed Angers 5-1 on Saturday to extend its unbeaten run to 31 league games, dating back to a defeat against Bordeaux on March 15.