PARIS — Captain Cheikh N’Doye scored a brace as Angers thrashed second-place Monaco 3-0 to climb to third in the French league on Saturday.
After slumping to a 5-1 loss against leader Paris Saint-Germain last week, Angers recovered in style with its biggest win this season to end Monaco’s nine-match unbeaten run in the league.
Monaco players wore their training jerseys to avoid a clash of colours with Angers’ outfit and dominated in the early stages as Bernardo Silva lost his one-on-one with goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier.
The momentum changed when Angers players started to play higher, pegging back the visitors in their own half to orchestrate well-constructed attacks.
"Angers were better than us in every aspect," Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said after his players were handed their first league loss since Nov. 8. "We did not play with the intensity required."
N'Doye's goals from close range came in the first half, and Mohamed Yattara sealed the promoted side's win soon after halftime.
"When you look at the result, one can think it was easy," Angers coach Stephane Moulin said. "We really wanted to play a big game, and we did it, against a team of very good dynamics. That makes our performance even better. We are a small club, a small team, we have small players, a small staff, but also a little bit of pride."
N'Doye deflected in Romain Saiss' shot with his knee, then doubled the lead with his seventh goal this season two minutes before halftime with a poacher's goal, getting to the ball first to beat goalie Danijel Subasic after Billy Ketkeophomphone hit the crossbar.
Yattara converted a cross from Sunu, as Angers snapped a three-match losing run in all competitions to move within two points of Monaco.
Lyon did not seize the chance to close the gap to Monaco as the seven-time champion's inconsistent season continued with a loss at Bastia 1-0. Brandao volleyed the winner home from Axel Ngando's cut-back cross in the second half, and Lyon remained nine points behind Jardim's team.
Lyon has won just one of its last 10 league games, and coach Bruno Genesio was left ruing a "big disappointment."
"Football is about being efficient in both boxes," he said. "We are not efficient in either of those right now."
At the bottom of the standings, Frederic Hantz celebrated his first match in charge as Montpeliier coach with a 4-0 win at Ajaccio that lifted the southern club two points above the relegation zone.
In other matches, Nantes won at Troyes 1-0, Lorient beat Reims 2-0, and Toulouse lost at home against Guingamp 2-1.
Runaway leader PSG will extend its lead over Monaco to 24 points if it beats Saint-Etienne on Sunday at Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium in the weekend's showpiece match.