PARIS (AP) - New signing Dario Benedetto scored twice as Marseille rallied from 2-0 down to win 4-3 away to struggling Monaco and take fourth place in the French league on Sunday.
Monaco led 2-0 inside 30 minutes thanks to two goals from France forward Wissam Ben Yedder, the first from the penalty spot and the second set up by strike partner Islam Slimani. Both have done well up front for Monaco since joining in the offseason.
But their attacking strength is undermined by Monaco’s poor defense , which has allowed 14 goals in five games so far - when no other team in the French league has conceded more than nine.
Valère Germain flicked on a cross from the right and strike partner Benedetto slotted home in the 39th. Three minutes later Benedetto headed against the crossbar from only two meters out, but almost immediately the Argentine was joining the celebrations as Germain nodded in at the back post to make it 2-2.
After that, Marseille took charge.
Veteran attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet controlled a long pass before drifting past two players and unleashing a fierce drive into the bottom right corner from 20 meters out in the 61st. It was the type of goal he scored leading up to - and during - the 2016 European Championship.
Six minutes after Payet’s arrow-like strike, Benedetto made it four goals since joining from Boca Juniors, curling a shot inside the left post after latching onto left back Jordan Amavi’s pinpoint pass.
But Marseille’s defense is also far from solid.
Monaco substitute Keita Baldé pulled a goal back in the 75th and Slimani forced Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda into a smart save moments later.
Marseille is level on points with third-place Nantes, which leads on goal difference.
Monaco remains without a win and in 19th place as the pressure increases on coach Leonardo Jardim.
He was fired last season to make way for Thierry Henry, and then re-hired when Henry was fired in a turbulent season which saw Monaco narrowly avoiding relegation.
Things do not appear to have changed, with Monaco picking up only two points from five games.
Mali striker Kalifa Coulibaly settled a tight match with the only goal as Nantes beat Reims 1-0.
Coulibaly advanced into the penalty area and scored with a low shot in the 69th minute.
Elsewhere, winger Romain Hamouma showed his scoring touch with both goals as Saint-Étienne rallied from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Toulouse.
The visiting side led 2-0 after 25 minutes with goals from forwards Max-Alain Gradel and Aaron Leya Iseka.
Toulouse is in 10th place and Saint-Étienne is 15th.
League leader Paris Saint-Germain won 1-0 at home to Strasbourg on Saturday with a spectacular injury-time winner from Neymar, who was jeered and whistled by PSG’s ultras in the crowd after trying to force a move back to Barcelona during the offseason.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.