Monaco striker Falcao hurts knee in French Cup

JEROME PUGMIRE AP Sports Writer Published:

PARIS (AP) -- Monaco's Colombia striker Radamel Falcao faces an anxious wait to find out if he has a serious knee injury after being taken off on a stretcher in the French Cup on Wednesday.

Falcao opened the scoring for Monaco in the 29th minute with his 11th goal of the season, but was caught by a heavy tackle from Chasselay center half Soner Ertek in the 40th as he charged into the penalty area. Falcao, tipped to be a star at the World Cup, was clearly in pain as he clutched his left knee and immediately called for medical attention.

Falcao is due to have further medical tests "in the coming days to clarify the exact nature of the injury," Monaco said in a statement.

After receiving treatment he was stretchered off a few minutes later and replaced by Emmanuel Riviere, who scored twice in the second half as Monaco won 3-0 to reach the last 16.

The 27-year-old Falcao turned neatly into the area as he received a pass and, as he was about to line up a shot, Ertek came charging in from the side and all of his weight hit Falcao's knee. Remarkably, no penalty was given, even though Ertek was nowhere near to getting the ball.

"That's all I am thinking about, I'm not thinking about the match at all," Ertek said. "I didn't dare to go and see him after the incident. I will be sorry my whole life if his season is finished."

But Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri was more angry with match referee Philippe Kalt.

"If Falcao has a serious injury, it's the referee's fault. It's not possible to let things go like that," Ranieri said. "When there are fouls, you have to whistle. When it's a bad foul, you have to get a yellow card out and if there's another bad foul, then it's a red. Tonight I saw neither."

Ranieri blamed Kalt for not taking firmer action against Chasselay's players earlier in the game. As Falcao was being taken away, Ranieri remonstrated furiously with Kalt, and could be heard screaming "I told you before."

Ranieri felt his players had not been protected enough.

"It's normal that the Chasselay players were tough, and that something could happen to someone," Ranieri said.

Midfielder Jeremy Toulalan fears that Falcao's injury could be bad.

"We've lost Radamel. It's a big blow for the future," Toulalan said on French television. "I think it's serious. The news isn't reassuring."

Falcao is Colombia's key player and he has scored 20 goals in 51 international matches for Colombia, which has qualified for this year's World Cup in Brazil.