PARIS (AP) Despite the departure of many key players, Monaco’s strike force remains intact.
Monaco, which had Europe’s most potent attack last season when it dethroned Paris Saint-Germain in the French league and made it to the Champions League semifinals, already has 17 goals in six league matches.
Monaco’s display on Saturday in a 3-0 win over promoted Strasbourg was not as flamboyant as last season, but Leonardo Jardim’s side recovered from a shock 4-0 loss at Riviera neighbor Nice last weekend with remarkable efficiency.
”It was not easy for us after the loss in the derby and this match really mattered,” Monaco defender Kamil Glik said. ”We’re still in the mix.”
Monaco moved level on points with leader PSG, which hosts Lyon on Sunday.
Radamel Falcao, the league top scorer, added two goals to his tally to make it nine in six matches after Rony Lopes opened the scoring in the 44th minute from Falcao’s assist.
Monaco has sold more than 350 million euros worth of players this summer and let burgeoning star Kylian Mbappe join PSG, but it recruited Stevan Jovetic and Keita Balde as attacking reinforcements.
Jovetic, who came from Inter Milan having spent the second half of last season on loan at Sevilla, has already developed an interesting partnership with Falcao. Jovetic had the first chance of the match in the 8th when he hit the crossbar after being fed by the Colombia forward.
Falcao made it 2-0 after halftime from an offside position that was not spotted by the officials, and sealed the hosts’ win by making the most of a defensive mistake from Strasbourg captain Kader Mangane.
BAMBA SCORES AGAIN
Forward Jonathan Bamba scored from the penalty spot to help Saint-Etienne win at Dijon 1-0 and lift the 10-time champion to third place.
Bamba has been involved in more than half of Saint-Etienne’s goals so far.
Saint-Etienne `keeper Stephane Ruffier was also a factor in the visitor’s fourth league win with three decisive saves.
Saint-Etienne is two points behind PSG.
FIRST AWAY WIN
Montpellier secured a first away win, 1-0 at Troyes with a goal from Pedro Mendes, who bagged his first goal in 47 matches in the topflight.
Mendes, who joined from Rennes this summer, headed home the winner at the half-hour mark to help his club move three points away from the danger zone.
Lille went through another tough evening and lost at Guingamp 1-0 after substitute Etienne Didot slotted home the winner in injury time with a long-range shot that took a deflection.
At the helm of the youngest side in the French league, Lille coach Marcelo Bielsa has been struggling to find the right formula and won just one out of six matches.
Nantes produced a fourth consecutive clean sheet and moved to sixth place in the standings with a 1-0 win against Caen.