Former Manchester United and Spurs star, Dimitar Berbatov, was at it again on Wednesday night. The Bulgarian scored the second and set up another as AS Monaco booked their place in the Coupe de France semi-finals with a 6-0 victory over Ligue 2 side RC Lens.
It was supposed to be a tough night for Claudio Ranieri’s side, but they brushed aside the second tier side with an impressive and dominant performance. Monaco took the lead through Argentine winger Lucas Ocampos, he slide in to turn in Nabil Dirar’s shot come cross. Berbatov made it 2-0 just before the break, receiving the ball from Jeremy Toulalan - he then played a one-two with Emanuel Rivière before prodding the ball past Remy Riou.
Nine minutes into the second-half and the 33-year-old striker returned the favour to his strike partner. Pouncing on a loose ball, he slipped in Rivière, and the young striker used his pace to get away from his marker before applying the finish.
Further goals from Fabinho, Geoffrey Kondogbia and another from Ocampos sealed the 6-0 victory. Monaco will face fellow Ligue 1 side EA Guingamp in the semi-final, the other game will see Rennes take on Ligue 2 side Angers.
After the game, Ranieri was full of praise for the Bulgarian striker and gave a few clues on the future of the former Tottenham Hotspur forward.
"Slowly, he gets better. He is a good player. He is very important to us. I think he wants to stay. We talk together later,"
It shows a bit of a U-turn from the Italian coach, he was reported as not being very happy that Berbatov was signed on Transfer Deadline-Day, but now that the Bulgarian is playing well, helping his team and adding some quality to the Monaco front-line, Ranieri seems happy to keep the striker beyond this summer.
There is no guarantee that Colombian superstar, Radamel Falcao, will ever wear the Monaco jersey again. Currently out injured after a serious knee injury, he is linked with moves to Chelsea and Real Madrid, and may leave after only 12 months in Ligue 1. Ranieri could look to Berbatov to spear-head his new-look attack in next year’s Champions League.
Monaco haven’t lifted the Coupe de France since 1991 and if he can keep up the early form he has shown at his new club, his experience and guile will go a long-way to helping Monaco lift their first piece of silverware since 2003.