Lyon crush Strasbourg with Wiltord hat-trick
PARIS, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Sylvain Wiltord scored a hat-trick to help Olympique Lyon start the year in style with a 4-0 demolition of bottom-placed Racing Strasbourg on Wednesday.
The Ligue 1 leaders, who ended 2005 by slumping to their first league defeat of the season, losing 3-1 at home to Lille last month, recaptured their winning ways with a spectacular performance.
Lyon extended their lead to 13 points to keep cruising towards a record fifth successive title.
Paris St Germain moved into second with a 3-1 home win over Sochaux in their first match under new coach Guy Lacombe, who replaced Laurent Fournier during the winter break.
Racing Lens, who fought with 10 men for a 1-1 draw at Olympique Marseille, drop a spot to third and are now 14 points off the pace.
Senegal defender Habib Beye had put Marseille in the lead with an early volley when Lens goalkeeper Charles Itandje was sent off for punching Marseille midfielder Franck Ribery just before the break.
Brazilian defender Hilton gave Lens a share of the points by volleying home from a corner on 77 minutes.
'We reacted well after the defeat against Lille,' said Lyon's Brazilian mifielder Juninho.
'What we did was not perfect technically but you could feel that everybody badly wanted to win.
'We know we're strong and I believe we'll win the title but we're not there yet.'
France forward Wiltord opened the scoring on six minutes for visiting Lyon, heading the ball through the legs of Nicolas Puydebois after the Strasbourg goalkeeper had failed to hold a Juninho free kick.
Defender Jeremy Berthod doubled the advantage shortly before the break, beating an offside trap to enter the box unchallenged and beat Puydebois from close range.
An unstoppable Wiltord was on target again in the 56th minute, twisting his way past two defenders to score from the edge of the box.
The former Arsenal player completed the rout with his eighth league goal this season on 73 minutes.
PSG opened the scoring on 27 minutes courtesy of midfielder Christophe Landrin. Senegalese midfielder Badara Sene equalised for lowly Sochaux 10 minutes into the second half but forward Fabrice Pancrate restored the home side's lead three minutes later.
Portugal striker Pauleta, the PSG captain and the league's top scorer with now 13 goals, sealed his side's win in the 73rd minute.