Veteran striker Berbatov scores winner as Monaco beats Lille 1-0 to pressure top 3



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PARIS — Veteran striker Dimitar Berbatov scored in the 1-0 win over Lille for fifth-place Monaco to extend its unbeaten run to 12 games on Saturday and keep the pressure on the top three in the French league.

Monaco has 11 clean sheets during its unbeaten run, conceded only one goal, and has 39 points — one less than fourth-place Saint-Etienne and two behind third-place Paris Saint-Germain, which travels to Saint-Etienne on Sunday. Leader Lyon has 45 points, one ahead of Marseille.

Berbatov rose above defender David Rozehnal at the front post to head past goalkeeper Vicent Enyeama in the 57th minute for his second goal in three games, and seventh of the season.

"It wasn't a great game. We were very well-organized tactically in the first half, but we were lacking in mobility and aggression up front," Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim said. "We had words at halftime, and we played very well for 25 minutes (of the second half)."

Monaco last conceded on Dec. 17 — a run of seven clean sheets — and has not lost since Nov. 29.

"(Goalkeeper Danijel) Subasic hasn't conceded a goal for a very long time," Jardim said. "The fact we're this solid is down to teamwork."

Monaco survived an early scare when Joao Moutinho collapsed to the ground after appearing to twist his ankle, but the midfielder was able to continue after treatment.

Lackluster Lille has only 17 goals in 22 league games, and rarely threatened Monaco's defense, although it had a goal ruled out with 10 minutes remaining when Djibril Sidibe headed in from an offside position after latching onto fellow defender Marko Basa's header.

Coach Rene Girard's team is down in 13th spot after its ninth defeat of the season.

Berbatov went close to adding a second but volleyed wide following a cross from defender Fabinho.

Sixth-place Montpellier remains four points behind Monaco after thumping Nantes 4-0 at home for a third straight win, with forwards Kevin Berigaud, Lucas Barrios and Anthony Mounier netting after midfielder Paul Lasne opened the scoring early on.

Seventh-place Bordeaux drew 0-0 away to Corsican side Bastia, whose feisty midfielder Yannick Cahuzac was sent off midway through the second half.

Forward Claudio Beauvue scored twice and strike partner Christophe Mandanne got the other goal as Guingamp beat Lorient 3-2 to move above Lille and into 12th place.

Beauvue continued his impressive scoring form and totals 18 goals in all competitions this season — including seven in his past six games.

On Friday, Marseille failed to win away from home for the eighth straight game as it lost 2-1 at Nice to stay in second place behind Lyon, which hosts struggling Metz on Sunday.

In Sunday's other matches, it's: Evian vs. Toulouse; Reims vs. Lens; and Rennes vs. Caen.

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