PARIS: Radamel Falcao came off the bench to score and set up another goal as Monaco brushed aside Nantes 3-1 on Saturday (Aug 11) to get their Ligue 1 campaign off to a strong start.
With Falcao left out of the starting XI following his World Cup exertions with Colombia and big summer signing Aleksandr Golovin out injured, Monaco struggled for long periods.
But the game changed when Falcao was introduced in the 66th minute, and Rony Lopes continued his excellent form from last season by stooping to nod in the opening goal just three minutes later.
Falcao set Stevan Jovetic free with 10 minutes to go, and the Montenegrin coolly slotted home.
Samuel Grandsir, who also came on with Falcao to make his Ligue 1 debut for the club, crossed low for the Colombian to tap into an empty net in the 83rd minute, as Monaco cruised to victory despite Emiliano Sala’s injury-time consolation.
“We still have a lot to improve, but this victory is good to start the season well,” Portuguese youngster Lopes told Canal+.
“Last week (4-0 Champions Trophy loss to Paris Saint-Germain) was difficult, but here, first game of the championship, a win, we’re happy.”
Reigning champions PSG get their title defence underway on Sunday when they host Caen.
Marseille opened the season in style on Friday night as Dimitri Payet scored twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Toulouse.