France round-up: Giuly goal rescues Monaco

A spectacular strike from Ludovic Giuly earned Ligue 1 leaders AS Monaco FC a 1-1 draw on Saturday.

A spectacular strike from Ludovic Giuly earned Ligue 1 leaders AS Monaco FC a 1–1 draw at home to AJ Auxerre in Saturday evening’s early game.

Two-point lead
Monaco opened up a two-point lead over Olympique de Marseille, who were defeated 4-1 at RC Strasbourg on Friday night, with third-placed champions Olympique Lyonnais in action later on Saturday on FC Sochaux-Montbéliard.

Defensive discomfort
Auxerre were comfortably the better side in the first half against a Monaco side missing several key players through injury and suspension, including defenders Dayo Oshadogan, Gaël Givet and Patrice Evra. Auxerre’s Ivory Coast international midfield player Bonaventure Kalou made the most of Monaco's reorganised defence in the sixth minute, racing through from the halfway line to score with the outside of his right foot.

Volleyed equaliser
Auxerre coach Guy Roux was celebrating his 65th birthday and his side work tirelessly to deny Monaco shooting opportunities. However, the home side gradually pressed Auxerre back as the second half wore on and equalised 14 minutes from time, Giuly volleying a clearance back into the roof of the net from 20 metres out.

'Nice birthday present'
Giuly joined Ligue 1's leading scorers with seven goals, having scored two long-range efforts against EA Guingamp in Monaco's last league game. "I consider that a nice birthday present," said Roux. "We made a great start to the game and we were worth our lead. But Giuly seems to have a contract with the organisers of the goal of the season award!"