France: Monaco draws in Ligue 1; Auxerre advances to French Cup final
PARIS (AP) — Fourth-place Monaco missed the chance to close the gap in the French title race after drawing 0-0 at home to Montpellier on Tuesday.
A win would have moved Monaco level on points with third-place Marseille, but coach Leonardo Jardim's side failed to break down a well-organized Montpellier side, which is in seventh place.
The visitors missed a penalty early in the second half when Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios fired a penalty over the crossbar.
The draw means Monaco is two points behind Marseille, six behind Lyon and seven behind league leader Paris Saint-Germain.
Teenage striker Anthony Martial, who had netter five goals in his past four games, started ahead of 34-year-old striker Dimitar Berbatov.
In a tight first half, midfielder Morgan Sanson forced Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic into a smart save, while Monaco left back Layvin Kurzawa headed in a cross moments before the interval, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
Montpellier had a penalty claim turned down early in the second half. But moments later referee Said Enjimi pointed to the spot after midfielder Nabil Dirar barged into Bryan Dabo.
But Barrios missed the chance for this 12th goal in the 24th game of the campaign when he fired his shot high over high over the crossbar.
Also, second-division Auxerre beat French Cup holder Guingamp 1-0 to reach the final.
Auxerre, a four-time French Cup winner which now plays in the second division, won thanks to a goal from midfielder Frederic Sammaritano.
Auxerre plays either Paris Saint-Germain or Saint-Etienne in the final. They play their semifinal on Wednesday.