MONACO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - AS Monaco celebrated their third successive Ligue 1 win after a second-half header by Islam Slimani gave them a 1-0 home victory over Montpellier in an entertaining clash on Friday.
The result lifted Monaco two places to fifth on 38 points, three points off the Champions League qualifying places, while Montpellier, who have 37, dropped one place to sixth.
Algeria striker Slimani, on loan from Leicester City, rose to meet a corner in the 52nd minute and his downward header beat goalkeeper Dimitry Bertaud and defender Damien Le Tallec on the line.
Monaco missed a string of chances to win by a bigger margin after Florent Mollet came close for the visitors in the sixth minute when home keeper Benjamin Lecomte saved with his foot.
Slimani had a shot cleared off the line by Arnaud Souquet and Aleksandr Golovin skied the rebound from close range before Monaco’s Montenegrin Stevan Jovetic unleashed a pair of piledrivers inches off target.
The hosts continued to dominate after Slimani struck as Tiemoue Bakayoko rattled the bar with a fierce shot and substitute Keita Balde misfired woefully wide with the goal at his mercy after a fast break in stoppage time.
In the weekend’s standout fixtures, champions and runaway league leaders Paris St Germain visit second-bottom Amiens on Saturday, while their closest rivals Olympique Marseille, whom are 12 points adrift, visit fourth-placed Lille on Sunday. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editng by Ken Ferris)