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

AP Photo/David Vincent, File

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.