PARIS (AP) — Striker Wissam Ben Yedder scored a 14-minute hat trick as Monaco routed Ajaccio 7-1 to move up to fourth place in the French league ahead of leader Paris Saint-Germain’s trip to face Rennes later Sunday.
PSG was expected to line up with World Cup winner Lionel Messi, World Cup runner-up and top scorer Kylian Mbappé and Neymar together in attack for the first time since before the World Cup in Qatar. The 24-year-old Mbappé was preparing for the 200th league game of his career.
Rennes needs to beat PSG by two goals to reclaim fourth spot on goal difference from Monaco.
Monaco opened the scoring against Ajaccio in the second minute when Guillermo Maripan’s header from a corner was saved and fellow defender Axel Disasi followed up.
Ajaccio was soon 2-0 down when midfielder Krépin Diatta tapped in Vanderson’s cross from the right.
A frantic opening saw the Corsican side pull a goal back through Algeria striker Youcef Belaïli in the 11th. But Ben Yedder scored in the 21st and 28th minutes with neat finishes before completing his second treble of the season with a penalty in the 35th.
Substitute forward Breel Embolo added two late goals to complete a fine performance from coach Philippe Clement’s Monaco.
Brittany side Rennes has proved a tough opponent in recent seasons. Rennes beat PSG to win the French Cup in 2019 and beat PSG at home 2-0 last season after holding PSG to a draw the previous season.
Lille’s strikers clicked in style with Jonathan David and Mohamed Bayo each scoring twice in a 5-1 win against Troyes.
David, who played for Canada at the World Cup, took his league tally to 12 goals — level in second place in the scoring charts with Lorient’s Terem Moffi and one behind Mbappé before PSG’s game.
Forward Alain Virginius also scored for Lille, while striker Mama Baldé grabbed a consolation goal for Troyes.
Montpellier finished with nine players in a 3-0 home defeat to Nantes marred by some crowd disturbances.
Following a 6-1 defeat at Nice in midweek, Montpellier’s angry fans let their feelings known by throwing flares onto the field early in the game. It was temporarily suspended as the referee led players off and started again 15 minutes later.
Things hardly looked up for Montpellier when Tunisia’s World Cup-scoring forward Wahbi Khazri was sent off for a clumsy challenge on 17-year-old Nantes midfielder Nathan Zézé. Deep into first-half stoppage time defender Andrei Girotto put the visitors ahead.
It got worse for Montpellier when striker Elye Wahi was sent off midway through the second half. Nantes made the most of it with striker Mostafa Mohamed and midfielder Ludovic Blas netting late goals.
Last-place Angers lost 2-1 at home to Clermont, which scored through Kosovo striker Elbasan Rashani and defender Neto Borges. Morocco’s World Cup winger Soufiane Boufal pulled one back for Angers late on.
Toulouse drew 1-1 at home to struggling Brest and Reims drew 0-0 with Nice in a midtable stalemate.
Second-place Lens and third-place Marseille both won on Saturday.
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