OGC Nice took over at the top of Division 1 from AJ Auxerre on goal difference following a 0-0 draw at struggling FC Nantes Atlantique. Auxerre lost 3-0 at defending champions Olympique Lyonnais.
Lyon’s Brazilian midfield player Juninho Pernambucano scored a hat-trick as his side brushed aside Auxerre, and his three goals took him joint top of the goalscorers’ chart with Auxerre’s Benjamin Mwaruwari with seven goals each.
Sandwiched either side of two free-kick goals in the 36th and 76th minutes was a close-range strike five minutes after half-time, which was created by French international Eric Carrière.
Auxerre had not lost since the opening day of the season when they were beaten 1-0 at Paris Saint-Germain FC, and held firm for the first 30 minutes as Lyon strikers Sidney Govou and Sonny Anderson struggled against a strong defence led by young French international Philippe Mexès. However, once Juninho’s curling free-kick had broken the deadlock, the match became a one-sided affair. Lyon are now fifth in the table.
PSG take control
Paris Saint-Germain FC moved up into third place, shrugging off the sending-off of midfield player Jérôme Leroy to win 2-1 at ES Troyes Aube Champagne. Goals from Argentinian Martin Cadetti and Brazilian FIFA World Cup winner Ronaldinho in the first eight minutes put PSG in command.
Sochaux go fourth
FC Sochaux-Montbéliard have moved up into fourth place, two goals from Mickaël Pagis sealing a 2-0 win over FC Girondins de Bordeaux, who had David Jemmali sent off.
Rennes secure crucial win
The replacement of Stade Rennais FC coach Philippe Bergeroo by former Lille OSC manager Vahid Halilhodzic paid off as the Breton side won 3-1 at fellow strugglers CS Sedan-Ardennes for only their second victory of the season and their first away from home.
Elsewhere, AS Monaco FC were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Lille, Ludvoic Giuly giving the home side the lead in the 66th minute before Matt Moussilou equalised for the visitors three minutes later. Monaco are in sixth position.
Late Lens equaliser
RC Lens needed a penalty from Antoine Sibierski seven minutes from time to salvage a draw at home to AC Ajaccio, who had taken the lead through a Hervé Alicarte goal in the first half.
Ajaccio’s fellow Corsicans SC Bastia defeated Le Havre AC 3-1, while Montpellier Hérault SC remain in the relegation zone, losing 3-1 at En Avant Guingamp. Olympique de Marseille entertain RC Strasbourg on Sunday.
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