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Zenit sign Bart Simpson

The Toe Poke 6 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 26, 2011

Giroud hat-trick sends Montpellier top

Montpellier moved top of Ligue 1 - for 24 hours at least - after a hat-trick from Olivier Giroud secured a 3-1 win over Sochaux.

Giroud opened the scoring in the 49th minute and, after Abdoul Camara had equalised six minutes from time, struck twice more late on. The win lifts Montpellier three points clear of Paris St Germain, who face a tricky trip to Marseille on Sunday.

Goals by Dmitri Payet and Moussa Sow guided Lille to third place in Ligue 1 after they ended a run of three successive draws with a 2-0 victory over Brest.

The result leaves Rudi Garcia's side five points behind leaders Montpellier and two behind Paris St Germain, who play tomorrow, and the manager will be relieved to see his side again claim three points.

Bordeaux claimed their first home win in Ligue 1 this season and lifted themselves out of the relegation zone after a spirited 2-0 win against Caen.

Yoan Gouffran claimed their first when he was freed by Maurice-Belay before firing into the net.Anthony Modeste grabbed the second after robbing a defender to secure a first win in eight games for Bordeaux.

Nancy were brought down to earth with a resounding bump after the euphoria of last weekend's win over Ligue 1 title hopefuls Paris St Germain as unfancied Dijon ran out 1-0 victors at Stade Marcel Picot.

Younousse Sankhare hit the winner for the visitors seven minutes from full-time as Patrice Carteron's men vaulted into mid-table on the back of a second successive league win.

St Etienne maintained their impressive form, piling more misery on basement side Ajaccio with a 3-1 victory.

Goals from Max-Alain Gradel, Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Banel Nicolita saw ASSE home with room to spare, improving their recent record to just one defeat in nine league matches. The first-half dismissal of Leyti N'Diaye did little to help Ajaccio, although they managed to get on the scoresheet through Fousseni Diawara.

A penalty by Julien Feret three minutes from time saw Rennes come from behind to claim a 3-2 win over Evian and keep up the pressure on the leaders at the top of Ligue 1.

Feret opened the scoring nine minutes into the game with a fine individual strike before goals by Cedric Barbosa and Daniel Wass gave the visitors a 2-1 half-time lead.

Youssouf Hadji equalised with less than a quarter of an hour remaining and the game appeared to be heading for a draw until Olivier Sorlin handled the ball in the penalty area and Feret converted. There was further drama as the hosts were then reduced to 10 men when Jean Armel Kana Biyik was sent off with a minute left.

High-flying Toulouse continued their strong Ligue 1 form with a comfortable 2-0 home win against Valenciennes.

Les Violets had conceded just 12 goals in 14 league games heading into tonight's game, a record matched only by leaders Paris St Germain. And Alain Casanova's side were typically frugal at the back against their struggling visitors, with Paulo Machado and Antoine Devaux scoring the decisive goals in each half.

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