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Ligue 1 wrap: Khelifa treble downs Montpellier

Saber Khelifa scored a hat-trick as under-pressure Evian beat last season’s Ligue 1 champions Montpellier 3-2 on Saturday.

Rene Girard’s side have struggled in the early stages of their title defence, winning just two of their first seven league matches.

And their woes were compounded as Evian – whose one win prior to this fixture saw them in the relegation zone – notched a surprise victory on the road.

Tunisian attacker Saber Khelifa opened the scoring for the visitors with a strike after 30 minutes, but the Stade de la Mosson crowd was bouncing at half-time as Montpellier responded with two goals of their own.

The leveller came from Chilean Marcos Estrada on 36 minutes, with Senegal’s Souleymane Camara firing Montpellier ahead just moments before the break.

Evian kept battling away and Khelifa’s second – scored after 62 minutes – was a deserved equaliser.

Khelifa bagged his hat-trick in the final minute of normal time, with the forward – who has now netted five times in his last three games – the hero for Pascal Dupraz’s side as they kicked away from the bottom three.

Promoted Reims continued their impressive start to the season, climbing to fourth courtesy of a 3-1 home win against Nice.

Dario Cvitanich cancelled out Diego’s opener for the losers just after the hour-mark before an inspired substitution fired Reims to victory.

Gaetan Courtet, introduced nine minutes after the break, put his side ahead with three minutes left before he capped the win with a second goal in injury time to seal the victory.

Toulouse rescued a point in a 2-2 stalemate against Valenciennes, with Wissam Ben Yedder and Adrien Regattin scoring in the second half for the seventh-placed side.

Other results saw Bastia defeat strugglers Troyes 3-2 thanks to Toifiliou Maoulida’s late winner, while Lille beat Ajaccio 2-0 and Rennes edged Sochaux 1-0.

Sat 6 Oct, 2012
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