Fabregas off the mark for Monaco, more misery for Marseille
Cesc Fabregas scored his first goal since joining Monaco from Chelsea on Saturday and it proved a crucial one as it earned his troubled new employers a precious 2-1 win over Toulouse.
The Spain international was signed by Thierry Henry in mid-January only for his former Arsenal teammate to be axed as Monaco boss days later.
Back came Leonard Jardim, three months after his own sacking, and the Portuguese manager was rewarded with Monaco’s first home win of the season.
The ailing 2017 champions went into an early lead when Gelson Martins, on loan from Atletico Madrid, provided Russia international Aleksandr Golovin with the assist to score on a counter attack.
Christopher Jullien headed Toulouse back level just four minutes later but Martins once again proved his worth by setting up Fabregas for the 62nd minute winner.
This fourth win of a harrowing campaign lifted Monaco up a place to third from bottom on 18 points.
“Everyone knows about the past, it’s tough not to have won at home up to now,” said Jardim.
“That’s why the players are happy, it’s they who have displayed their skill.”
Later Saturday, Mario Balotelli started for Marseille for the first time since joining from Nice but the Italy striker’s presence could not prevent Rudi Garcia’s side suffering a 2-1 loss at promoted Reims, the ninth defeat this season for the south coast side.
Goals from Tristan Dingome and South Korean Suk Hyun-Jun -- who scored seconds after coming on as a substitute -- had the hosts firmly in command.
A desperate Marseille threw everything at the Reims goal and Cameroon striker Clinton Njie cut the deficit four minutes from time before his side were unable to get an equaliser.
Marseille’s latest damaging defeat left last season’s Europa League finalists on 31 points, a massive 24 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain who are at Lyon on Sunday.
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- Chelsea dominated Thursday’s game and could have had more goals to add to Mason Mount’s exquisite first-half strike that turned out to be the match-winner.
- FC Goa attacked Dessai through Saviour Gama before twinkle-toed Jorge Ortiz tested him. By the 17th minute, Dessai had been caught out thrice; the last time because of a poor pass which Alexander Jesuraj intercepted needing a tackle from Vignesh Dakshinamurthy that could have been a penalty.
- Muller wouldn’t feature regularly that season but he went on to score in the Champions League knockout stages coming on as a substitute against Sporting Lisbon.
- Musiala has been making steady progress since he joined Bayern’s under-17 team from Chelsea in 2019. He has made 27 appearances for the first team, scoring four goals.
- Barcelona faces an even bigger hurdle next week when it visits Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League trailing 4-1 from the first leg. But the team can aspire to keep up its positive momentum in the Spanish league.
- The first leg, originally scheduled to be held at the Red Bull Arena in Germany, was shifted to Budapest after German authorities denied Liverpool entry into the country due to Covid-19 protocols.