Monaco gave themselves a boost ahead of their trip to play Arsenal in the Champions League by beating Cote d’Azur rivals Nice 1-0 at the Allianz Riviera in Ligue 1 on Friday.
Substitute Bernardo Silva was the hero for the principality side, coming off the bench to net the only goal of the game five minutes from time.
The Portuguese midfielder stroked the ball low into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box after Yannick Ferreira Carrasco had intercepted a Kevin Gomis clearance to give Monaco a win that lifts them up to fourth place in the table before the rest of the weekend’s games.
It was their first league win since late January and the clean sheet was their ninth in their last 10 Ligue 1 games.
However, it was not all good news for Leonardo Jardim’s side, who saw influential left-back Layvin Kurzawa limp off in the first half with a knock that may make him a doubt for Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg against the Premier League side.
In addition, Monaco won the game despite having Tunisian defender Aymen Abdennour sent off in stoppage time at the end of the first half for a dangerous challenge on Romain Genevois.
Abdennour will now be automatically suspended for next week’s home game with Paris Saint-Germain, and such selection problems are not what Jardim would have wanted at a time when the likes of Andrea Raggi and Ricardo Carvalho are already on the sidelines.
However, Jardim was delighted to get the three points, while Nice slumped to a first league defeat of 2015 as they failed to score for the fourth game in a row, only coming close to scoring when Carlos Eduardo headed against the bar in the second half.
“Nice started the match well but from the 25th minute on, we controlled it,” said Jardim. “It was difficult when we were down to 10 men but we still played well.
“Layvin Kurzawa took a knock on the thigh but we will see if he can recover in time to play Arsenal on Wednesday.”
Monaco move above Saint-Etienne, who entertain second-placed Marseille on Sunday.
Leaders Lyon, who are two points clear at the top, play host to Nantes on Sunday while Paris Saint-Germain, in third, are at home to Toulouse on Saturday.
PSG must do without the injured Serge Aurier, Yohan Cabaye, Lucas and Thiago Motta for that game, while David Luiz and Marco Verratti are both banned. – Agence France-Presse