MONACO (Reuters) - Striker Radamel Falcao scored his ninth goal of the Ligue 1 season to salvage a 1-1 home draw for Monaco against Evian Thonon Gaillard as the team from the principality continued to stall on Friday.
The result, on the back of two consecutive defeats in all competitions, left Monaco in third place with 26 points from 13 matches, two behind leaders Paris St Germain who will extend their lead to five points if they beat Nice on Saturday at the Parc des Princes (1600 GMT).
“I would have liked to see my players fight like champions do,” said coach Claudio Ranieri, who had asked his team to toughen up earlier this week.
“Some may have thought it would be easy but football is not easy,” he told a news conference.
Evian took the lead in the 20th minute when Daniel Wass caught the Monaco defence snoozing, outspeeding Lucas Ocampos before firing a fine, rising shot past Danijel Subasic.
Monaco leveled seven minutes later when Falcao beat Jesper Hansen with a low, diagonal shot from inside the box after collecting a defence-splitting pass from fellow Colombian James Rodriguez.
Evian sat back in the second half but came very close in the 66th minute when Senegalese striker Pape Amodou Sogou sneaked past Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abidal only to be denied by Subasic.
Monaco, who had lost 2-0 at second-placed Lille last weekend after being eliminated 1-0 by Stade Reims in a League Cup last-32 match, had another chance in the closing stages but Ocampos’s strike smashed Hansen’s bar in the 88th.
Reporting by Etienne Ballerini; Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Rex Gowar