Dirar does the business for Monaco


Substitute Nabil Dirar's first-half goal gave Monaco a 1-0 Ligue 1 victory over Guingamp at the Stade Louis II on Sunday. The Morocco winger, on for the injured Anthony Martial, struck seven minutes before half-time to give Leonardo Jardim's side only their second league victory of the new campaign – their first in three league matches. The slender victory saw Monaco move up four places to 15th in the standings, while Guingamp replaced them in 19th. Monaco, buoyed by their Champions League victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday, started brightly but Bernardo Silva could not head them in front from close range in the 11th minute after some exquisite build-up play from Layvin Kurzawa and Dimitar Berbatov. The hosts continued to press and five minutes later Guingamp keeper Jonas Lossl had to be at his best to keep out a stinging Yannick Ferreira Carrasco drive from just inside the penalty area. Martial's afternoon came to a premature end in the 23rd minute after he picked up an injury and was replaced by Dirar, who looked lively from the outset. Former France international Jeremy Toulalan spurned a fine chance in the 33rd minute when he steered a Dirar cross wide of the target, but the provider turned scorer five minutes later. Joao Moutinho, who netted Monaco's winner in midweek, tested Lossl with a dipping free-kick but after the keeper palmed his shot to safety, Guingamp defender Maxime Baca inexplicably steered the ball into Dirar's path and he poked home from close range. Sparked into life, Guingamp could have been level three minutes later but Monaco keeper Danijel Subasic was alert to repel Claudio Beauvue's volley and the hosts went into the interval with a slender advantage. After a lacklustre start to the second half, Kurzawa almost doubled Monaco's lead just after the hour mark but his near-post header from a Moutinho corner was saved by Lossl before the Portuguese playmaker blasted a free-kick over the crossbar. Monaco claims for a 77th-minute penalty were waved away by referee Mikael Lesage when Moutinho went down under a strong Benjamin Angoua challenge, but the hosts closed out the final 13 minutes to secured a well-deserved, albeit slender, victory.