PARIS – Radamel Falcao came off the bench to score and set up another goal as Monaco opened its French league campaign with a 3-1 win at Nantes on Saturday.
An otherwise drab match quickly improved when Falcao came on midway through the second half. The veteran Colombia striker immediately started combining well with Montenegro forward Stevan Jovetic, who set up a headed goal for attacking midfielder Rony Lopes with a deflected cross in the 69th minute.
With 10 minutes left, Falcao gathered a high ball near halfway and intelligently flicked the ball over his head into the path of Jovetic, who scored with a cool finish.
Three minutes later, Falcao was celebrating after tapping in Samuel Grandsir’s low cross from the right, after Grandsir was freed by Jovetic’s measured pass inside the penalty area.
“Falcao is an important player for us, it’s easier when you have players of his quality,” Lopes said. “We didn’t play well in the first half.”
Nantes salvaged some pride through striker Emiliano Sala’s goal in the second minute of injury time.
In the pick of Saturday’s later matches, former France and Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira takes charge of Nice for the first time in a home game against Reims.
In Friday’s season-opening match, attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet scored twice as Marseille beat Toulouse 4-0.
Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain is at home to Caen on Sunday, when Lyon hosts Amiens and Bordeaux faces Strasbourg.