Monaco wins, delays PSG title celebrationsBy DANIELLA MATAR , Associated Press
Apr. 26, 2014 5:52 PM ET
Dimitar Berbatov scored twice to help Monaco win 4-1 at Ajaccio in the French league on Saturday and delay Paris Saint-Germain's title celebrations for at least a day.
Monaco moved provisionally seven points behind PSG, which will seal back-to-back titles if it wins at relegation-threatened Sochaux on Sunday.
Elsewhere, fourth-place Saint-Etienne kept alive its hopes of snatching the final Champions League berth by beating relegation-threatened Evian 2-1.
"For us, the aim wasn't to delay PSG being confirmed champions, that's been a given for a long time," Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said. "We play each match to win. It's important for our pride. Especially as we have been playing without (Radamel) Falcao since November. But Berbatov is a great champion and his performance tonight proves it."
Monaco struggled at times against already-relegated Ajaccio, before Berbatov broke the deadlock eight minutes after the break. The Bulgarian didn't even have to jump as he used his height to head a corner into the bottom right of goal.
Berbatov doubled his tally in the 74th minute, beating the offside trap to control a delightful through ball from James Rodriguez before netting his fifth goal in 10 matches.
Gadji Tallo reduced the deficit for Ajaccio moments later but Geoffrey Kondogbia sealed the match following an assist from Berbatov.
Substitute Lucas Ocampos added a fourth in stoppage time, minutes after coming off the bench.
Saint-Etienne got off to a great start as it kept up the pressure on Lille for third spot.
Benjamin Corgnet volleyed home Max Gradel's cross in the seventh minute and Gradel was on hand again with a free kick which Loic Perrin headed in eight minutes later.
Evian pulled one back 10 minutes into the second half. Substitute Cedric Barbosa — who only came onto the pitch seconds earlier — raced down the right flank before crossing for Daniel Wass, who saw his first effort saved by Stephane Ruffier before firing in the rebound.
Evian had two players sent off in stoppage time. Youssouf Sabaly was shown a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Francois Clerc and Cedric Cambon received a second booking for remonstrating with the Saint-Etienne player.
Saint-Etienne moved to four points behind Lille, which hosts Bordeaux on Sunday.
Evian remained five points above the drop zone, level on points with Guingamp, which snapped a five-match losing streak with a 1-0 win over fellow struggler Valenciennes.
Nice all but guaranteed itself safety after beating high-flying Reims 1-0 to record its first win in six matches, Montpellier came from behind to beat Toulouse 2-1, and Rennes slipped below Nice and Montpellier as it drew 1-1 at home to Lorient.