PARIS (AP) — Wissam Ben Yedder’s rapid hat trick helped Monaco rally from 2-0 down to beat Brest 4-2 for a ninth straight French league win on Saturday and move above Marseille into second place and the automatic Champions League place.
Brest went 2-0 up midway through the first half, but Ben Yedder scored a penalty just before the interval. The France forward then netted in the 51st minute with a fine solo goal and a sharp header in the 55th. He has nine goals in the past nine games, and his strike partner Kevin Volland made it 4-2 in the 70th after Ben Yedder's volley was saved.
With one round remaining, Monaco and Marseille are level on points. Monaco has a better goal difference than Marseille, which was soundly beaten at Rennes 2-0. That lifted Rennes into fourth spot and automatic entry into the Europa League.
Ben Yedder's prolific season took him to 24 league goals, one less than top scorer Kylian Mbappe, who netted a second-half penalty as French champion Paris Saint-Germain won at Montpellier 4-0.
Lionel Messi scored the first two and Argentina teammate Angel Di Maria got the third, all in the first half.
Nice was once among the contenders for a Champions League place but its recent form has dipped and coach Christophe Galtier's side was sixth after losing at home to Lille, last season's champion, 3-1. American attacker Tm Weah, a son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberia president George Weah. scored in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time for Lille, his first league goal since Feb 2 last year against Bordeaux.
Six-time champion Bordeaux was almost relegated after drawing with Lorient 0-0. Last-placed Bordeaux was three points away from Metz in 18th place and the promotion-relegation playoff spot, with a far worse goal difference.
Bordeaux's Ultras tried to corner the team coach as the players arrived, but it took a different route and riot police used tear gas to disperse angry Bordeaux fans giving chase.
The game was briefly held up during the first half when home fans threw toilet paper onto the field. A banner was unfurled, which read “89 goals conceded, you are (expletive).”
Metz was bottom for a long time but is 18th after beating Angers 1-0 to leapfrog Saint-Etienne, which lost at home to Reims 2-1 and is 19th. Metz and Saint-Etienne are level on points with Metz ahead on goal difference.
In other matches, striker Moussa Dembele notched his 20th league goal as Lyon beat French Cup winner Nantes 3-2 at home.
Fifth-placed Strasbourg won at home to Clermont 1-0, and seventh-placed Lens beat host Troyes 3-1.
Corsican side Ajaccio was promoted from the second division while Auxerre will contest the relegation-playoff match.
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Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press