Monaco 2 - 1 Sochaux

Match info: Ligue 1 at Stade Louis II

Date: 08/03/2014 KO: 19:00 Ref: Mikael Lesage Att: 7,654

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Monaco

Dimitar Berbatov 6
James Rodriguez 55 (pen)

2
vs
1

Sochaux

Edouard Butin 83

FT (ht: 1-0)

  • Last Updated: March 7 2014, 14:31 GMT

Claudio Ranieri is tempted to give Dimitar Berbatov his first start for Monaco against Sochaux on Saturday.

Dimitar Berbatov: Could start for Monaco
Dimitar Berbatov: Could start for Monaco

The Bulgarian joined the Ligue 1 title contenders on the final day of the January transfer window on a loan deal for the rest of the season from Fulham.

His appearances to date have all come from the substitutes' bench, but manager Ranieri believes this weekend might be the ideal time to give the former Tottenham and Manchester United striker his maiden start.

"Dimitar Berbatov is getting stronger and stronger, he's getting better and better and he may start against Sochaux," Ranieri said on the club's official website.

The Italian also confirmed defenders Eric Abidal and Aymen Abdennour would miss out as Monaco look to bounce back from last week's defeat to St Etienne, their first loss in 11 matches in all competitions.

That setback left them eight points adrift of league leaders Paris St Germain and realistically they can afford no more slip ups if they are to have any slim chance of overhauling the pacesetters.

Yet Ranieri believes his charges can already be proud of their efforts this season as they were playing a division lower 12 months ago.

"We are having a great championship," he said.

"If sometimes, we are a little off colour, it's normal. My ambition for the second half of the season, is to get one more point than we did in the first half.

Of Saturday's opponents, Ranieri added: "Certain people think it is going to be easy against Sochaux, but I am not one of them. I have a feeling this team will avoid relegation."

Sochaux midfielder Sebastien Roudet will be able to play after it was confirmed he would serve his suspension for collecting a third booking in 10 games in the club's next match against Lorient.

Herve Renard's men overcame Bordeaux last time out and Jordan Ayew, who came off the bench to score the opener in the 2-0 win, believes the 19th-placed club are capable of causing a few shocks between now and the end of the season.

"We played attacking football and were calmer (against Bordeaux)," said Ayew, who is on loan from Marseille.

"The team was liberated and I think we're going to surprise a few people."


New Sky Bet customers: Free matched bet up to £30