Title-chasing Monaco snatches 2-2 draw at Lorient

A late equalizer by Monaco snatched a 2-2 result at Lorient on Saturday but it lost ground on Paris Saint-Germain in a French title race that Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri already says is over.

Monaco slipped to five points behind PSG, which beat Bordeaux 2-0 on Friday. The top two meet in a tantalizing clash in the principality next week. "I'm disappointed," Ranieri said. "I thought Monaco deserved the victory. It was a good match but that's football.

"It's important to have a good match against PSG, but they won the title before the start of the season so it's a completely separate match. I'm thinking more of the match after, against Bastia." Vincent Aboubakar headed Lorient in front in the 12th minute following good work by Kevin Monnet-Paquet down the right flank.

Monaco leveled three minutes from halftime when Valere Germain's weak shot beat Lorient goalkeeper Florent Chaigneau. Lorient almost restored its lead immediately after the break but Bruno Ecuele Manga's effort was cleared off the line by Andrea Raggi.

The home side did go in front in the 73rd. Danijel Subasic's clearance fell to Aboubakar, who found Jeremie Aliadiere for a tap in. Substitute Layvin Kurzawa rescued a point for Monaco with a low strike three minutes from time.

New Monaco signing Dimitar Berbatov was not in the squad. Later, Saint-Etienne maintained its challenge for a Champions League berth as it comfortably beat relegation-threatened Valenciennes 3-0. Former Valenciennes midfielder Renaud Cohade turned in a corner against his old club to break the deadlock in first-half stoppage time and Benjamin Corgnet all but sealed the result 10 minutes after the break.

Substitute Yohan Mollo also scored shortly before fulltime, five minutes after coming off the bench. Saint-Etienne moved to a point behind third-placed Lille, which visits Nice on Sunday. Valenciennes was four points from safety after Evian drew 1-1 at home to bottom club Ajaccio.

Evian seemed to be on course for a first win in seven matches following Marco Ruben's 84th-minute strike but Gadji Tallo leveled against the run of play in the final minute. Sochaux earned only a third win of the season after 1-0 result at home against Nantes. Stoppila Sunzu headed in Sebastien Roudet's long ball on the stroke of halftime.

Montpellier won 4-2 at Reims to extend its run to seven matches without defeat. Joris Marveaux fired Montpellier in front in the first half before two goals from Remy Cabella gave the visitors a comfortable advantage.

Floyd Ayite reduced the deficit and an own goal from Abdelhamid El Kaoutari gave Reims hope but M'Baye Niang scored his fourth goal in six matches since joining Montpellier from AC Milan. Meanwhile, Bastia came from behind to beat Guingamp 3-2.

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