Paris: A towering Radamel Falcao header helped send Monaco top in France on Saturday as a 3-0 home win over Rennes saw them leapfrog Paris Saint Germain.
The win means Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco have 13 points from five games ahead of PSG on ten, while Nice can join Monaco at the top with a win at Montpellier.
This was Monaco’s seventh consecutive win and follows a slick 2-1 triumph over Tottenham at Wembley in the Champions League in midweek.
“The favourite to win the title, which will be a long haul, is Paris,” warned Jardim.
“Nice, Lyon and Marseille have also invested in their teams, but we are a better side this season, more experienced and organised,” said the Portuguese coach whose side came third last year.
Falcao’s career has hit the buffers since quitting Atletico Madrid saw him endure unsuccessful injury-blighted loan stints at Manchester United and Chelsea.
But on Saturday, the 30-year-old Colombian leapt high at the back post and powered in a header in the 42nd minute to score his first goal for Monaco since August 2014 — 755 days ago.
Rennes, who had made the long journey from Brittany, rarely had the south coast side in trouble and lost concentration as the slightly built 20-year-old Thomas Lemar scored twice at the end of the game.
His first was a far post tap-in set up by Bernardo Silva and the second a lob which left Rennes keeper Benoit Costil watching the ball drop behind him into the net.
Rennes captain Pedro Mendes saluted the winners.
“That is one very good side and we won’t be the only ones to suffer here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bordeaux’s fungus-infected pitch at their new stadium was described as a “potato field” by disgruntled fans.
Adding to their problems, the home team also missed the chance to go second, suffering a 1-0 defeat as a Karl Otoko Kembi strike in the 38th minute gave Angers a narrow win.
The second and third bottom sides Nancy and Nantes drew 1-1, but rock bottom Lorient celebrated their first points of the season after Benjamin Moukandjo slammed home a penalty on 76 minutes to seal a 1-0 win over Lille.
Lorient remain 20th, a point behind five clubs on four points.
High-flying northerners Metz, now fourth on ten points, drew 0-0 with Dijon in a match between two newly-promoted sides and where both missed a penalty each.
Toulouse came from behind for a 2-1 home win over Guingamp thanks to a penalty from Denmark’s Martin Braithewaite on 63 minutes and the winner from Jimmy Durmaz two minutes later.
It was a fourth league goal of the season from captain Braithewaite, who donates a 1,000 euros to charity every time he scores.
On Friday, Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani banged four goals past Caen in a 6-0 win for PSG.
Lucas Moura and Jean-Kevin Augustin added the other two goals after the break as PSG ended a run of three games without a win in all competitions.