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Falcao hits treble as Monaco win without Mbappe

Monaco's Colombian forward Radamel Falcao celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Dijon FCO and AS Monaco, on August 13, 2017 at Gaston Gerard stadium in Dijon, northern France. PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP

Kylian Mbappe watched on from the bench as Radamel Falcao struck a hat-trick in champions Monaco’s 4-1 victory away to Dijon in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Jemerson also scored in a comprehensive victory for the principality side that made it two wins from two after they started the campaign by beating Toulouse 3-2 last weekend.

It was also their 14th consecutive league win, equalling the record set by Bordeaux in 2009.

They join Lyon, Marseille and Saint-Etienne on maximum points before Paris Saint-Germain — with Neymar poised to make his debut — visit Guingamp later (1900 GMT).

But it was the absence of Mbappe that will likely prove the biggest talking point of Monaco’s trip to Burgundy.

The 18-year-old France forward was one of the stars of Monaco’s title triumph and run to the Champions League semi-finals last season.

However, he is said to be determined to leave the principality before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month, with Real Madrid keen but PSG his preferred destination. His club want 180 million euros ($213 million, £164 million) if they are to sell.

Mbappe was in the Monaco squad at the Stade Gaston Gerard but did not make it off the bench as coach Leonardo Jardim gave a debut to 21-year-old winger Adama Diakhaby, a 10 million-euro signing from Rennes.

Without Mbappe, Monaco went ahead inside three minutes as Kamil Glik headed down a corner and Falcao helped the ball towards goal, with goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet getting a touch but unable to stop it from crossing the line.

Brazil centre-back Jemerson then produced a remarkable overhead-kick finish from another corner to double Monaco’s lead and Diakhaby fed Falcao for a shot that took a slight deflection on its way in to make it 3-0 in the 37th minute.

Wesley Said pulled one back for Dijon before the break but Colombian star Falcao headed home another corner shortly after the restart to complete a fine victory for the away side.

“It is my second hat-trick with Monaco. It is magnificent to score with my head, my feet, my left foot,” said Falcao, who said of Mbappe simply that it had been “the club’s decision”.

“Monaco have lots of good players who are wanted by big European clubs. But the important thing is that each player’s maturity allows him to train well and stay fully focused to win matches.”

Chaotic defeat for Lille
Earlier, Marcelo Bielsa suffered his first loss as coach of Lille, three different players going in goal in a chaotic 3-0 defeat at newly-promoted Strasbourg.

On a miserable day for Bielsa and his side, Lille lost Brazilian recruit Thiago Mendes and full-back Kevin Malcuit to injury in the first 18 minutes at the Stade de la Meinau.

Bielsa then made another substitution before the interval, so when goalkeeper Mike Maignan was shown a straight red card just after the hour mark for throwing the ball at Benjamin Corgnet, Lille were in trouble.

Unable to send on substitute goalkeeper Herve Koffi, Lille were instead forced to hand the gloves to striker Nicolas De Preville.

He denied Idriss Saadi when the Strasbourg player found himself clean through, but the home side had been on top throughout and they got the breakthrough in the 74th minute through Jonas Martin.

De Preville had had enough of his stint in goal and he opted to give the gloves to captain Ibrahim Amadou for the closing stages.

He was beaten twice in the last 10 minutes, first from a Dimitri Lienard penalty and then from Jeremy Grimm’s long-range strike as Strasbourg won a top-flight game for the first time in more than nine years.

“I can’t approve of it but I understand it,” said Bielsa of the sending-off.

“But for me it wasn’t the turning point. Our opponents deserved their advantage, regardless of the fact we had to play without our goalkeeper for the last half-hour.”

This post was syndicated from The Guardian Nigeria Newspaper – Nigeria and World News. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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