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Ligue 1: Monaco inch closer to title; PSG win big(ger) to stay alive

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PARIS (AP) Monaco moved closer to winning the French league and reaching 150 goals for the season with a comfortable 3-0 win at struggling Nancy on Saturday.

Earlier, Paris Saint-Germain maintained its slim hopes of retaining the title with a 5-0 home win against Bastia.

But Monaco is three points ahead of PSG with a game in hand and a much better goal difference. Monaco can effectively seal the title with a home win against Lille next Sunday. PSG has a difficult game at Saint-Etienne.

“We’re close,” Monaco midfielder Bernardo Silva said. “All the players deserve to win it.”

Monaco got off to the ideal start when defender Tobias Badila scored an own goal in the third minute. Silva made it 2-0 shortly before halftime when he headed in Thomas Lemar’s cross from the left.

Teen striker Kylian Mbappe used his pace to set up Lemar for the third, taking Monaco’s season tally to 149 in all competitions.

Monaco fans celebrated as if they’d won the league, while Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev went on to the pitch to applaud them and congratulate his players.

It was the ideal preparation for the Champions League semifinal return leg at Juventus on Tuesday, when Monaco will look to overturn a 2-0 deficit.

Last-placed Bastia was infuriated less at losing than at a PSG goal it considered unsporting.

The second goal by Marco Verratti enraged Bastia’s players. PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi went down under a challenge and PSG claimed a penalty that was not given. While Matuidi lay on the ground and clutched his leg, Bastia goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca went over to check if he was injured.

Meanwhile, PSG threw in and, with Leca out of position and unsighted by PSG winger Julian Draxler standing in front of him, Verratti hit a swerving shot that caught Leca unaware and flew into the top corner.

“We’re angry with Verratti,” Bastia midfielder Lenny Nangis said. “He’s a great player and he doesn’t need to do that to score.”

Leca was incensed and rushed over to complain to the referee while PSG players celebrated. If anything, the goal should have been ruled out anyway, as Draxler was clearly offside and directly interfering with play by blocking Leca’s view.

“I’m a bit disgusted. I saw Matuidi was hurt and I tried to help Blaise up,” Leca said on Canal Plus. “But it’s not what cost us the game.”

Edinson Cavani struck twice to take his league tally to 33 and his overall total to 47. He also missed a penalty in the second half after appearing to blatantly dive in order to win it, and had two goals ruled out.

Bastia remained one point behind 19th-place Nancy with two games remaining.

Caen striker Ivan Santini’s 15th goal secured a 1-0 win at Toulouse and lifted the Normandy club three points away from the relegation zone.

Lorient, in 17th place, picked up a useful point after drawing with Angers 1-1. Next Sunday, Lorient visits Bastia.

Guingamp beat Dijon 4-0, with forwards Jimmy Briand and Yannis Salibur scoring two each.

Metz won 2-0 at Lille.

On Sunday, third-place Nice travels to play Marseille, which is trying to make the Europa League.

Mascherano out 6 weeks, will miss Argentina vs. Brazil

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.

[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]

Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.

Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.

He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.

Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.

Courtois aiming at new Chelsea contract after strong season

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There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]

The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.

“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.

“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”

The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.

Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.

“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.

“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]

Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.