Kurzawa leaves it late as Monaco edges Reims
Fontvieille, Monaco (SportsNetwork.com) - Layvin Kurzawa netted a winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time on Friday as Monaco pulled out a thrilling 3-2 victory over 10-man Reims at the Stade Louis II.
The home side came flying out of the gate and snagged the lead just eight minutes into the contest when Joao Moutinho lofted a corner kick into the penalty area where Valere Germain rose highest to nod it past Reims goalkeeper Johny Placide for the early advantage.
After the break, Reims had the better of the run of play and got back into the match with an equalizer through Prince Oniangue, who danced past two Monaco defenders and calmly slid the ball into the bottom left corner.
Monaco came back to take the lead again in the 62nd minute when Jeremy Toulalan made his way to the edge of the Reims penalty area and ripped a low strike into the bottom left corner, past the outstretched arm of Placide.
Reims was able to draw level for a second time with 19 minutes to play after Monaco goalkeeper Daniel Subasic got caught off his line on a free kick. The ball fell kindly to Oniangue, who smashed it into the empty net.
Things then became more difficult for the visitors when Aissa Mandi was shown a straight red card for a rash challenge, reducing Reims to 10 men in the 82nd minute.
It appeared the match would end all square, but with the clock approaching the final minute of stoppage time, James Rodriguez ripped a shot from distance that hit the post, but the rebound came right to Kurzawa, who fired it home at the death to hand Monaco the points in dramatic fashion.
The result pulls Monaco within two points of league leaders Paris Saint- Germain, while Reims remains in seventh place on 39 points.
Elsewhere in Ligue 1 this weekend, Paris Saint-Germain will attempt to widen their margin atop the table to five points when the defending champions travel to the Stade Municipal de Toulouse to face Toulouse.
PSG resumes domestic competition with supreme confidence after thrashing Bayer Leverkusen, 4-0, at the Bay Arena on Tuesday in the Champions League round- of-16.
Everything went PSG's way from the first minute to the final whistle as the capital club opened the scoring in Germany after just three minutes through Blaise Matuidi.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a penalty kick in the 39th minute and scored an absolute stunner in the 42nd minute to deliver the knockout blow to Bayer Leverkusen.
Yohan Cabaye netted his first goal for his new club two minutes from time to put an exclamation point on a spectacular performance.
PSG manager Laurent Blanc praised his club's outstanding effort:
"Tonight we reproduced the kind of soccer we were playing in the first half of the season," Blanc said. "Obviously I am very happy with the performance Paris were excellent tonight, we witnessed, in my opinion. a great team.I'd like to congratulate everyone, from the players stats started and those that came in, to the entire squad. We can count on everyone."
"We played very well in the first half and continued to play well," Ibrahimovic said. "I felt really good out there tonight when the whole team plays like that, it's easy to play well. We are on the right track to qualify for the quarterfinals, we have the goal to finish the job in the return leg."
Also on Sunday, Nantes will host Rennes at the Stade de la Beaujoire, while Lille welcomes Lyon to the Grand Stade Lille Metropole.
On Saturday, Marseille welcomes Lorient to the Stade Velodrome hoping to extend its unbeaten run in league play to five matches, while Bastia hosts St Etienne.
Bordeaux welcomes Evian to the Stade Chaban-Delmas, Guingamp battles Nice at the Stade du Roudourou, Montpellier battles AC Ajaccio, and in Saturday's final fixture, Valenciennes welcomes Sochaux to the Stade du Hainaut.
02/21 16:51:15 ET