James' left foot
While it was Nantes that launched the first attack of the match with Gakpé's dangerous cross in the opening minute and a corner in the fourth, Les Rouge et Blanc quickly took control of proceedings. After a first effort off target from Germain (6'), and another effort from Fabinho saved by Dupé (7'), the referee, Mr Millot, then waved away clear claims for a penalty after Cissoko handled in the Nantes penalty box (11'). However AS Monaco FC weren't about to cry over spilt milk and finally made the breakthrough in the 18th minute. From his position wide on the right wing, Dimitar Berbatov squared for James 25m out directly in front and the Colombian did the rest with a surgical low effort from the edge of the area that gave Dupé no chance in the visitors' goal. Moments later, Berbatov saw an effort ruled for offside.
Subasic preserves the lead
The goal sparked Nantes into life and they had three big chances in ten minutes before the half-hour. Raggi produced a magnificent tackle to Gakpé (23'), before Shechter missed the target after getting free from the marking to meet a long free-kick (26'), and then Subasic produced a magnificent save to deny Shechter from close range (30')! The final moments of the first half featured a series of corners for both sides that failed to change the scoreboard. Just before the break however, Carvalho had to use all his experience to stop another Nantes counterattack led by Gakpé down the right. The referee's whistle sent AS Monaco FC leading 1-0 at the break.
After the break, Nantes continued to look for the equaliser as Gakpé failed to hit the target under pressure from the advancing Subasic (48'). The Monaco reply came quickly as Germain got rid of Veigneau, only to see Djidji clear his effort off the line from a tight angle (50'). Germain then provided a cut-back for James, but the Colombian missed the target with the goal at his mercy (53')… For Nantes, it was the American Bedoya who went close to equalising in the 63rd minute when his shot shaved the upright of Subasic's goal. The coaches made changes and after a few minutes, Raggi made the game safe with a header from James corner - it was the Italian's first ever Ligue 1 goal.
James at the double
2-0 became 3-0 when James converted a penalty after a foul by Dupé on Fabinho (77'). The three-goal lead didn't last long though as Bedoya headed home to pull a goal back a minute later. Audel then had a great chance to set up a nervy finish for Les Rouge et Blanc, but his free-kick deflected off the wall (85'). In the final minutes of stoppage time, James blasted high after a nice lay off from Rivière. Not that it mattered as AS Monaco FC ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. The result sees the principality club strengthen their hold on second place as they re-established their six pint lead over LOSC and now have an 11-point advantage over fourth-placed AS Saint-Etienne! The Champions League is not far away now!