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Fabregas off the mark for Monaco, misery for Marseille

Cesc Fabregas celebrates first goal for Monaco © AFP / VALERY HACHE

PARIS, France, Feb 3 Cesc Fabregas scored his first goal since joining Monaco from Chelsea on Saturday and it proved a crucial one as it earned his troubled new employers a precious 2-1 win over Toulouse.

The Spain international was signed by Thierry Henry in mid-January only for his former Arsenal teammate to be axed as Monaco boss days later.

Back came Leonard Jardim, three months after his own sacking, and the Portuguese manager was rewarded with Monaco’s first home win of the season.

The ailing 2017 champions went into an early lead when Gelson Martins, on loan from Atletico Madrid, provided Russia international Aleksandr Golovin with the assist to score on a counter attack.

Christopher Jullien headed Toulouse back level just four minutes later but Martins once again proved his worth by setting up Fabregas for the 62nd minute winner.

This fourth win of a harrowing campaign lifted Monaco up a place to third from bottom on 18 points.

“Everyone knows about the past, it’s tough not to have won at home up to now,” said Jardim.

“That’s why the players are happy, it’s they who have displayed their skill.”

Later Saturday, Mario Balotelli started for Marseille for the first time since joining from Nice but the Italy striker’s presence could not prevent Rudi Garcia’s side suffering a 2-1 loss at promoted Reims, the ninth defeat this season for the south coast side.

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Goals from Tristan Dingome and South Korean Suk Hyun-Jun — who scored seconds after coming on as a substitute — had the hosts firmly in command.

A desperate Marseille threw everything at the Reims goal and Cameroon striker Clinton Njie cut the deficit four minutes from time before his side were unable to get an equaliser.

Marseille’s latest damaging defeat left last season’s Europa League finalists on 31 points, a massive 24 points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain who are at Lyon on Sunday.

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