PARIS (AP) — Rony Lopes scored the winner midway through the second half as second-place Monaco beat Bordeaux 2-1 in the French league on Friday.
The attacking midfielder is emerging as a replacement for Bernardo Silva, who was arguably Monaco’s best player when it won the league and reached the Champions League semifinals last season. Silva’s scintillating form earned him a big-money move to runaway English Premier League leader Manchester City.
Lopes was on City’s books in 2014 but made only a handful of appearances. He was loaned to Monaco and then to Lille, before joining Monaco on a permanent basis. He confidently swept the ball home from right of the penalty area in the 69th minute for his eighth league goal.
“I’m happy to have helped the team,” Lopes said. “We keep fighting until the end.”
The fleet-footed and skillful Lopes has an extra incentive to keep his form going, as he is eyeing a place in Portugal’s World Cup squad. He has one international cap.
“That’s a dream for me, but I know it’s difficult,” he said. “I can do it and if I get there I’ll be very proud.”
Midfielder Valentin Vada’s powerful shot from near the penalty spot put Bordeaux ahead in the 32nd minute.
Forward Stevan Jovetic equalized on the stroke of halftime, slotting into the bottom corner after running onto midfielder Thomas Lemar’s pass for his sixth goal in 12 league games.
Monaco is 11 points behind league leader Paris Saint-Germain, and five points ahead of third-place Marseille.
Midfielder Wylan Cyprien volleyed a late winner into the roof of the net as Nice beat struggling Lille 2-1.
Cyprien timed his run perfectly to the back post to thump home tricky winger Allan Saint-Maximin’s cross from the right in the 80th.
Mario Balotelli’s header put Nice ahead in the fifth minute — his 14th league goal of the season — but he missed two good chances in the second half.
Nice moved up to seventh place while Lille languishes in 19th.