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Monaco 2 Montpellier 0: VAR intervenes but Falcao’s brace decisive

Monaco - cropped Monaco celebrate against Montpellier (source: AFP)

Radamel Falcao scored a brace as Monaco defeated Montpellier 2-0 on Wednesday to book a Coupe de la Ligue final against Paris Saint-Germain.

The Colombia international was on target twice in the first half of the semi-final at Stade Louis II, where Montpellier struggled to respond, despite twice benefiting from the intervention of the video assistant referee (VAR) system.

Holders PSG overcame Rennes 3-2 a day earlier, and this result set up a decider between Ligue 1’s reigning champions Monaco and the runaway leaders from the capital in Bordeaux on March 31. 

Even if they do spring a surprise in a rematch of last season’s showpiece, success in France’s secondary domestic knockout competition would be small consolation for a Monaco side who are fourth in the table, trailing PSG by 12 points after being stripped of several key players who were crucial to last term’s unexpected title triumph. 

Monaco deservedly opened the scoring in the 15th minute, when Djibril Sidibe charged into the box and went down under a challenge. Falcao was well placed to take possession, setting himself before flicking the ball up neatly and picking out the bottom corner with a firm, low strike. 

Three minutes after opening the scoring, Leonardo Jardim’s men were denied a penalty when Stevan Jovetic went down after being challenged by goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte inside the area. 

Match official Amaury Delerue pointed to the spot but then consulted the VAR system and overturned his initial decision, affording Montpellier a lifeline.

The hosts did make it 2-0 in the 29th minute, though, Falcao arriving at the back post to meet Rony Lopes’ delivery across the face of goal from the left and steer the ball into the roof of the net with a side-footed finish from close range. 

Lopes had a goal chalked off with 25 minutes to go when Falcao was shown to be occupying an offside position during the build-up to the strike, but that did not prevent the home team from securing a straightforward victory.

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