Openda scores fastest French league hat trick in 50 years

PARIS (AP) — Lois Openda scored the fastest French league hat trick in 50 years to help Lens move into third place with a 4-0 win over Clermont on Sunday.

Openda struck three times in 4 minutes, 30 seconds. According to stats provider Opta, that was four seconds quicker than Matt Moussilou's treble in Lille's 8-0 rout of Istres in April 2005.

Lens trails second-place Marseille by a point and is three points clear of Monaco.

Openda had not scored in his 11 previous games in all competitions, but he rediscovered his touch by slipping the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Mory Diaw in the 31st minute from a tight angle.

Hungry for more, Openda closed down Clermont midfielder Maxime Gonalons, who lost possession to Adrien Thomasson in the 34th. A selfless Thomasson set up Openda, who doubled the lead with a low strike.

The Belgian striker smelled blood again in the 35th, intercepting a poor back pass from Mateusz Wieteska to round Diaw and slot into an empty net for his 12th league goal this season.

Lens substitute Alexis Claude-Maurice sealed the win in the 76th with a goal set up by Openda.

It could have been a different story if Lens center back Jonathan Gradit had not made a crucial block in the 20th. Clermont winger Aiman Maurer beat goalkeeper Brice Samba, but Gradit cleared the ball off the line.

Also, Nice missed an opportunity to make up ground in the race for European spots as it twice wasted the lead in a 2-2 draw with Nantes to stay seventh.

Nigeria forward Terem Moffi opened the scoring with a downward header in the fifth minute before Nantes midfielder Moussa Sissoko leveled by heading home a free kick in the 31st.

Burundi defender Youssouf Ndayishimiye thought he had given Nice the win with a low strike in the 71st but Nantes substitute Mostafa Mohamed equalized with a powerful header in the 88th.

Lorient went level on points with Nice by beating Troyes 2-0 with goals from Senegal forward Bamba Dieng in the ninth and substitute Stephane Diarra in stoppage time. Troyes extended its winless run to 10 games to remain in the relegation zone.

Midtable Toulouse snapped a three-game losing streak by defeating bottom-side Angers 2-0 with goals from Danish right back Mikkel Desler in the 37th and Dutch striker Thijs Dallinga in the 47th. The game was suspended for a few minutes after Dallinga’s goal because some supporters set off fireworks behind Angers goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni’s goal, burning the back of the net, which needed to be repaired.

Montpellier beat struggling Ajaccio 1-0 with a goal from substitute Elye Wahi in the 68th to stretch its unbeaten run to five games since Michel Der Zakarian took over as coach.

The 27th round ends later Sunday with Marseille vs. Strasbourg, and Monaco vs. Reims.

On Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain edged Brest 2-1 to extend its lead to 11 points.


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