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Monaco win eighth straight to climb to second

VILLENEUVE-D’ASCQ, FRANCE (AFP) – Aurelien Tchouameni struck twice on Friday as Monaco won 2-1 at Lille to stretch their Ligue 1 winning streak to eight game and climb into second place.

The 22-year-old France midfielder gave the visitors the lead from outside the penalty area three minutes before half time.

Angel Gomes danced past two defenders and curled a shot inside the far post for a 69-minute equaliser.

Six minutes later, Tchouameni settled the match with a low 30-metre rocket that flew in off the base of the near post.

Without playing well, Monaco overtook their two rivals for Champions League places, Rennes and Marseille.

“We’ve played better games!” said Monaco coach Philippe Clement. “It was a victory of determination and team-work because we are never satisfied with a draw.

Monaco’s midfielder Aurélien Tchouameni celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal. PHOTO: AFP

“We knew it would be difficult against Lille because a wounded animal is always dangerous.”

Marseille, who are third on goal difference, visit Lorient today.

Rennes, three points further back and now in a Europa League spot, have to wait until Wednesday to face local rivals and French Cup finalists Nantes. If Monaco win their last two games, Rennes cannot catch them.

“We have to stay focussed,” said Clement. “Not try to become mathematicians instead of players!”

For last year’s champions Lille, the downward spiral continued with a fifth straight defeat.

One of the main fan groups refused to cheer, announcing their strike with a banner that read “You are on holiday, so are we”.

In addition, fans booed the names of most of the players and the coach, and some Lille fans celebrated successful Monaco passes with “Oles”.

“We finish the season in an atmosphere that is not pleasant, I think it’s a shame,” said Lille coach Jocelyn Gourvennec.