Hat-trick hero Gameiro put PSG top of French Ligue 1

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A Kevin Gameiro triple gave Paris Saint-Germain a 3-1 win at Ajaccio on Sunday that enabled the big-spending club from the capital to restore their three-point lead at the top of French Ligue 1.

The France striker broke the deadlock in the second minute at Stade Francois Coty on the island of Corsica, volleying home from close range after Nene’s right-wing corner was flicked on at the near post by Sylvain Armand.

The hosts have won just once in 10 games since returning to the top flight but they drew level in the 24th minute through Carl Medjani after PSG failed to clear their lines following a free-kick. PSG were grateful for the positioning of Nene 11 minutes before the break, the Brazilian forward heading a Richard Socrier header off his own goal-line from right underneath the crossbar.

Socrier also tested goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu with a dipping volley early in the second half, before a quick-fire pair of goals by Gameiro took the game beyond Ajaccio.

In the 50th minute he slammed home from close range after Mohamed Sissoko had headed down Christophe Jallet’s high cross.

Clement Chantome was the provider three minutes later, skipping around goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and squaring for Gameiro to complete his hat-trick and take his tally for the season to a league-high eight.

“I’m pleased to have scored a hat-trick,” said Gameiro.

“It was the second of my career and I hope it won’t be the last. They were three (Filippo) ‘Inzaghi-style’ goals, and you need that in a season.

“We’re the leaders, but we can’t get carried away because the season is still long.”

Gameiro’s match-winning turn allowed PSG to claim a fourth consecutive league victory and coach Antoine Kombouare was effusive in his praise of the former Lorient marksman.

“He’s someone who has huge mental strength and never doubts himself,” said Kombouare. “He’s been rewarded for his efforts.

“His first quality is the way he finds space. But above all he’s a fantastic goalscorer. He’s always where he needs to be.”

Ajaccio slipped to second-bottom and were leapfrogged by Valenciennes, who climbed out of the bottom three after 19-year-old Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar netted twice in a 3-0 defeat of Sochaux.

In Sunday’s late game, Rennes beat visiting Lorient 2-0 in the Brittany derby to climb above their local rivals to fifth place.

Jires Kembo-Ekoko broke the deadlock with a pinpoint 10th-minute free-kick and Burkinabe winger Jonathan Pitroipa made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute after Kembo-Ekoko had been felled by Arnaud Le Lan.

“Jires is a player who always makes a difference,” Rennes coach Frederic Antonetti told Canal+.

“That’s what the match came down to. But there were too many technical errors and we need to work on that.”

Lyon, beaten 2-0 at PSG in their previous outing, are now three points behind their title rivals in third place after the in-form Michel Bastos claimed a brace to inspire his side to a 3-1 win at home to Nancy on Saturday.

Montpellier are second, above Lyon on goal difference, having come from 2-0 down to beat Dijon 5-3 at Stade de la Mosson.

Striker Olivier Giroud claimed a second-half hat-trick for the hosts – the first of his Ligue 1 career – to leave him one goal behind Gameiro at the top of the scoring charts.

Defending champions Lille – who host Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday – finished the weekend a point further back in fourth, after rallying from 1-0 down at half-time to win 3-1 at Auxerre.

Marseille’s miseries continued, however.

The 2010 champions were held to a 0-0 draw at sixth-placed Toulouse – their sixth stalemate of the season – and sit 15th, just a point above the relegation places ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Arsenal.

French Ligue 1 results:

Ajaccio 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3
Valenciennes 3 Sochaux 0
Rennes 2 Lorient 0

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