PARIS (Reuters) - Monaco claimed their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years with one game to spare when they beat St Etienne 2-0 at home on Wednesday to bring an end to Paris St Germain’s four-year reign as champions.
Monaco, who took their tally in a swashbuckling season to 104 goals, needed a draw to be guaranteed top spot but got over the line in style with efforts from Kylian Mbappe and Valere Germain to lift them to 92 points, six ahead of PSG.
Leonardo Jardim’s side built their success around a devastating attack featuring French prodigy Mbappe and the resurgent Radamel Falcao, who have been fed all season by Portugal hope Bernardo Silva and young French international Thomas Lemar.
With midfielder Fabinho and talented fullbacks Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy adding to their forward firepower, Monaco were a cut above the rest -- even PSG.
The title put them joint third in the professional era with Nantes on eight titles behind St Etienne (10) and Olympique de Marseille (9).
“PSG are used to being champions, that’s the logic. But once in a while we can win one title and that’s an achievement. It’s time to celebrate now,” said Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim.
Mbappe, whose performances have made him one of Europe’s most coveted young players, added: “We reached our goal, we managed to keep PSG and Nice at bay. They sustained the pace for most of the season, but we hung on.”
Monaco started strongly, pressuring the St Etienne defence on their right flank. Les Verts threatened on the break with Habib Baiga’s shot rising just over the bar on eight minutes.
The hosts were a cut above, however, and after collecting Falcao’s superb through ball, Mbappe feinted his way past Stephane Ruffier before poking the ball home for his 15th league goal.
Falcao then went close with a fine header seven minutes into the second half.
Arnaud Nordin forced Danijel Subasic into a spectacular save shortly afterwards as St Etienne showed they had no intention of settling for defeat even if they had nothing to play for.
Monaco controlled the game until the final whistle as they snatched their 17th win from 19 homes games, having scored a massive 63 goals at the Stade Louis-II.
“At the beginning of the season we did not really believe in it but then we started to score freely and we grew more confident,” said midfielder Nadil Dirar, one of four players along with Subasic, Germain and Andrea Raggi, who were also crowned Ligue 2 champions in 2013.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis
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