PARIS (AP) — Newly-promoted Monaco beat Lorient 1-0 in the French league on Sunday to return to the top of the table.
Radamel Falcao won and converted a penalty in the sixth minute for his fourth goal of the season. The Colombia striker had been tripped by Lorient goalkeeper Fabien Audard. Falcao was signed from Atletico Madrid in an offseason deal worth an estimated 60 million euros ($79 million).
Lorient offered little in attack all match. Sadio Diallo thought he had equalized in the 26th minute, but his effort was ruled out for offside. Monaco moved back to top spot, a point ahead of Saint-Etienne. It has won four of its opening five matches.
The principality club and defending champion Paris Saint-Germain — which is two points behind Monaco — are the only unbeaten sides in Ligue 1. The two sides meet in a mouthwatering clash next Sunday. "I was a bit angry at the end of the match because it was a comfortable match and then we made it difficult for ourselves at the end," Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said. "We were leading 1-0, it was very important for us to keep the ball. But we were very tired, the players travelled all around the world with their national teams. It was very difficult.
"Nevertheless, there is a week to recover. I hope it will be another Monaco against PSG next Sunday. But I'm still happy as when you win this type of match, when it's difficult, it's a good sign." Elsewhere, Lille slipped to its first home defeat since March as it lost 2-0 against Nice.
The visitors scored with their first chance of the match, in the 20th minute, when Christian Bruls backheeled Gregoire Puel's cross on for Dario Cvitanich to drill into the right corner. Cvitanich doubled his and his team's tally on the stroke of halftime. Lille lost the ball and Bruls set off on a counter attack, down the right flank before picking out Cvitanich, who drove an angled shot into the opposite corner.
Lille almost got straight back into the game after the break but Nice goalkeeper David Ospina pulled off a double save to deny Franck Beria and Ronny Rodelin before Salomon Kalou saw an effort crash off the right post.
Rennes secured a 0-0 draw at Lyon in the evening match. The visitors had obviously come to play for the draw and offered little in attack, focusing on defense. Lyon had 11 shots in the second half alone and Bafetimbi Gomis saw an effort crash off the crossbar in the 67th minute. Rennes is fifth, a point above Lyon.